The BYU men’s basketball team defeated Belmont 95-81 thanks to a combined 53 points from Kyle Collinsworth and Nick Emery on Saturday night in Provo.
The Cougars found themselves trailing 42-40 at halftime, but outscored the Bruins 55-39 in the final 20 minutes.
Collinsworth finished with 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in the victory, just shy of his first triple-double of the season.
Collinsworth credited the coaching and said he wasn’t worried about his next chance to become the NCAA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles.
“Coach put me in some good spots tonight,” Collinsworth said after the game. “If (a triple-double) happens, it happens. But there will be more opportunities. This wasn’t the first time I was close, and it probably won’t be the last.”
Defensive adjustments let the Cougars pull away. Belmont senior guard Craig Bradshaw had 19 points at halftime on 7-9 shooting. To open the second half, BYU head coach Dave Rose changed things up and held Bradshaw to seven second-half points on just three attempts.
“Bradshaw is a guy who is obviously a great shooter, but he’s really a great scorer,” Rose said. “We wanted to start with Nick (Emery) on him, but Bradshaw just busted shots. Kyle (Collinsworth) has been our consistent defensive guard that we can put on the other team’s best scorer. I thought Kyle’s length and athleticism caused some real problems.”
Emery added 27 points in the victory in just his second career start. He has now scored 20 or more points in two of his last three games.
Rose praised his freshman guard for his performance.
“Well, Nick (Emery) is starting to just be a really consistent scoring guard for us. He’s playing with some real consistency. He has a real diverse game. He’s got confidence in where he’s going to get his shots,” Rose said.
Forward Kyle Davis added a double-double of his own. The junior scored 11 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Cougars. Guard Chase Fischer added 19 points on 50 percent shooting from three-point range.
The senior captain had connected on just four of his previous 18 attempts from downtown. Fischer called it “the worst slump” of his career and added that he knows he needs to play better for the team to be successful.
“It was really rewarding to have some shots go in in the second half,” Fischer said. “I wasn’t making a lot of shots, and that takes away from my energy, so it’s a big thing for me. Not selfishly, but I know I’ll need to play better in this next stretch.”
The victory was a big one for the Cougars. The team previously struggled to put away lowly Mississippi Valley State, winning seven points.
Rose acknowledged the importance of the win.
“Congratulations to our team,” Rose said. “This was a big win for us. We played with a lot of urgency and energy tonight. It was a good win for us. It gets a lot tougher from here.”
The Cougars next travel to Salt Lake City to take on the rival Utah Utes on Dec. 2. BYU also has notable games against Utah State and Colorado before the team will travel to Hawaii to play in the Diamond Head Classic during Christmas week.