The BYU men’s basketball team blew out Loyola Marymount University 87-62 Thursday night to remain perfect at home this season and improve to 15-7 overall and 6-3 in the West Coast Conference.
The Cougars beat the Lions by 11 points with a score of 91-80 last week in Los Angeles. Corbin Kaufusi attributed this week’s blow out to returning home to the Marriott Center after a four-game road trip.
“We love this place and we love our fan base,” Kaufusi said. “It’s nice to come back and play for them.”
BYU shot as poorly as 31 percent from the field and LMU led by as many as eight points in the first few minutes of the game, but the Cougars battled back. BYU took the lead 18-15 on a 3-pointer from freshman guard Nick Emery and never looked back. They went on two 10-0 runs before leading 38-24 at the half.
Senior guard Kyle Collinsworth ignited the crowd with an impressive dunk with 7:14 left in the first half. Collinsworth jumped just inside of the free-throw line to dunk the ball and drew a foul as well. His successful free throw made it a 3-point play.
Head coach Dave Rose said Collinsworth is recently started doing a new stretching and mobility program and is seeing its effects.
“His legs have actually felt a lot better the last two weeks,” Rose said. “Hopefully that continues. He’s had some real explosive plays, that’s for sure.”
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BYU continued to dominate in the second half and led by as many as 30 points before coming away with the 87-62 victory.
The Cougars emphasized sharing the ball more in practice this week and it showed in their 23 assists on the night. Rose said his team sometimes over-passes when an emphasis is placed on sharing the ball, but they didn’t do that against the Lions.
“I do think there were times when we made the right decision, put the ball right where we needed it to and then we didn’t finish it,” Rose said. “And then we stayed with it.”
Junior forward Kyle Davis led the Cougars with 19 points, 10 of which came in the first half. Senior guard Chase Fischer scored 17 points and had six rebound and four assists. Collinsworth added 11 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Emery contributed 10 points and freshman guard Zac Seljaas recorded a new career high with five assists before leaving with an undisclosed shoulder injury.
Eight different players saw playing time coming in off the bench. Kafusi stole the show in the latter part of the second half, shooting 5-of-5 with 12 points, two rebounds and two blocks in 12 minutes.
“All in all, we played a lot of guys who haven’t played a lot of minutes in the last week or two,” Rose said. “It’s good to get them out there and see them produce.”
LMU shot just 2-of-22 from beyond the arc while BYU made 33.3 percent of its 3-point attempts. The Cougars shot over 50 percent from the field for the first time in a few games, out-shooting the Lions overall 50.8 percent to 32.8 percent.
The Cougars continue their four-game home stand at the Marriott Center with a game against Pepperdine University Saturday, January 30. Tip-off is 8 p.m. (MST).