Fischer breaks out of slump for BYU basketball

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BYU guard Chase Fischer has seemingly turned the corner on his early-season slump for the Cougars.

Chase Fischer dribbles by a UVU defender in November. Fischer is averaging 15 points per game for the Cougars. (Maddi Dayton)
Chase Fischer dribbles by a UVU defender in November. Fischer is averaging 15 points per game for the Cougars. (Maddi Dayton)

The 6-foot-3-inch senior from Ripley, West Virginia began the 2015 season shooting just 7-27 from the three-point line — just 26 percent. He went so far as to call it the “worst slump of my career” after the Cougars’ victory over Belmont on Nov. 28.

Fischer was hesitant to say he’d broken his funk after going 5-10 from beyond the arc against Belmont, but it’s safe to assume the Cougar captain is back to his sharp-shooting self. He’s scored 66 total points in his past three games and shot 48 percent from three-point range.

Fischer said it was about chemistry.

“We’re just starting to play,” Fischer said. “Chemistry is everything in basketball, especially on offense. I just kept with (shooting the ball).”

He’s led the team in scoring in each of the last two games — 26 points in a loss to Utah and 21 points in a win against Weber State — and the Cougars will need Fischer to continue to stay hot as they welcome in-state rival Utah State to the Marriott Center on Dec. 9 and then travel to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes on Dec. 12.

Utah State is allowing opponents to shoot 35 percent from deep this season, but have struggled to defend the arc recently. In their last two contests the Aggies allowed Duke and Missouri State to shoot a combined 47.3 percent from the field.

Colorado is in a similar situation. In their last two contests — wins against Fort Lewis and Colorado State — the Buffaloes are allowing opponents to connect from deep 47 percent of the time.

So Fischer will have opportunities to score moving forward. Kyle Collinsworth said after the Belmont game that the two of them had been working all offseason and that the team’s early struggles weren’t indicative of their talent.

“Chase and I have been working all summer,” Collinsworth said. “We felt like we haven’t played (as well as we could’ve). But the key is, whether you play good or bad in a game, Chase and I will play the same and do the same thing after practice. It’s all about consistency.”

Consistency has been a struggle not just for Fischer, but for the team itself. The Cougars were trailing to Belmont at the half before exploding for 55 second-half points and they found themselves in a 23-point deficit against Utah before dropping 47 points in the second half.

Against Weber State the Cougars had a more balanced game. The team scored 39 points in the first half and 34 in the second half.

BYU head coach Dave Rose said that he’s taking more time in practice to emphasize offensive sets to eliminate mistakes.

“We’ve slowed practice way down for a week or two and you can see it in our execution in transition,” Rose said.

As the Cougars’ offense rolls in the second half, so has Fischer. He’s scored double-digits in the second half of the last three games, including 26 in a loss to Utah.

“I think this team is definitely a second-half team,” Fischer said after the Weber State game. “We were down every game at half in Spain. We get a little bit of momentum going in the second half. I would love for us to start the game better, but it’s good to have that in your pocket. If you’re struggling, we can always come back.”

Fischer and the Cougars will play two of their next three games at the Marriott Center, beginning with Utah State on Dec. 9.

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