Senior guard Chase Fischer’s career high 41 points led BYU (8-4) to a dominating 96-66 win over former Mountain West Conference foe New Mexico (7-5) in the second round of the Diamond Head Classic Wednesday afternoon.
BYU bounced back from a disappointing 85-82 loss to Harvard yesterday and appeared to be a different team today, shooting 53 percent from the field and making 57 percent of their 3-point attempts. After scoring just four points with no 3-pointers against Harvard, Fischer responded in style against New Mexico with a career high 41 points in 37 minutes of play, making nine-of-14 3-point attempts.
Fischer said in a postgame interview it’s tough to come back after personally playing poorly in a loss but he used some of the talk about his Harvard performance to “self-create” motivation. He put the game behind him and came out wanting to play hard.
“I think that’s my responsibility as a leader on this team and a captain on this team and I think it’s a responsibility to play well,” Fischer said. “If it’s not playing well, it’s playing hard.”
The Lobos got on the board first but that was their only lead of the game. The Cougars went on an 8-0 run and led by as many as 12 points before New Mexico cut it down to just four points near the end of the first half. BYU played sloppily and ran into foul and turnover trouble before forward Jamal Aytes and Fischer hit needed baskets on back-to-back possessions. This key stretch gave the Cougars an eight-point lead of 46-38 headed into halftime.
The Cougars built on the momentum they created before the half and dominated the second half, increasing the lead to 30 points. BYU hit 16 3-pointers and made 16 of 19 free throws.
Head coach Dave Rose said in a postgame interview he and his staff was impressed with how his team responded to yesterday’s loss after leaving the court discouraged 24 hours ago.
“The main key to winning this game today was, I felt, that we needed to stay together and rely on each other,” Rose said. “That’s what I was proud of the most … We stayed engaged in what we wanted to do for most of those 40 minutes.”
Freshman guard Nick Emery contributed 20 points, including five 3-pointers, and had four assists. Senior guard Kyle Collinsworth and junior forward Kyle Davis posted 10 points each, with Collinsworth recording nine assists and Davis adding six rebounds.
BYU will next play the winner of Wednesday’s Washington State-Northern Iowa on game Christmas Day at 1:30 p.m. (MST) in the consolation bracket. The game will be broadcast on the Cougar IMG Network, BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143, KSL 1160 AM / 102.7 FM and byucougars.com.