Five Cougars scored doubled digits in a 102-92 victory over San Francisco as BYU reached 100 points.
Senior guard Chase Fischer led the pack with 25 points while freshman guards Nick Emery and Zac Seljaas scored 21 and 20 points, respectively. Senior guard Kyle Collinsworth netted 13 points and junior forward Kyle Davis contributed 14 points.
Both teams shot over 50 percent in the first half and constantly battled back and forth before the Cougars pulled away on a 9-2 run in the final two and a half minutes of the half to give them a 51-45 lead.
“At halftime we had a little lead, but in the locker room it didn’t feel like that,” Fischer said. “I think they had us back on our heels a little bit. I think the key was being tough at the end and kind of closing it out.”
Head coach Dave Rose said the locker room may have felt that way because it had been a while since the Cougars had given up that many points before halftime.
“This team has got a real mindset that we want to be a better defensive team and I think we have progressed into a better team,” Rose said. “But tonight, we won this thing by making baskets.”
San Fransisco shot a better field goal percentage, 49 percent compared to BYU’s 47 percent, but the Cougars dominated the 3-point game, outshooting the Dons 50 percent to 30 percent.
Seljaas energized the Cougars throughout the first half, but especially after a slow start and difficulty putting points on the board. Seljaas scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half and surpassed his previous season high. Seljaas shot 6-of-10 from beyond the arc and pulled down five rebounds. He now sits 6th on the freshman all-time 3-point scoring in program history with 38 3-pointers made.
“I just owe it to my teammates for passing; it’s not about my success,” Seljaas said. “It’s about coming out for the win. It’s all about the win.”
BYU increased their lead to as many as 13 points in the second half and maintained a double-digit lead for most of it. The Dons fought to reduce the lead to just six two times after 3-pointers by junior guard Ronnie Boyce halfway through the second half.
Rose said he was happy for the guys and the win but has concerns about the Cougars’ defensive play. The Dons out-rebounded the Cougars 40-38. It was the first game BYU had been out-rebounded by still pulled away with a win.
“I do think there’s a lot of things from this game that can help us get better,” Rose said. “Tonight, we weren’t very good defensively at the point of attack and we need to improve on that.”
The Cougars improved to 12-5 overall and 3-1 in conference. BYU begins a four-game road stretch next week with a game at Gonzaga Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on ESPN2 as well as the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM / 102.7 FM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.