BYU sweeps Bay Area series with win over Santa Clara

Ari Davis
Nick Emery is only BYU freshman to score more than 30 points in back-to-back games. He scored 37 points against San Francisco and 31 points against Santa Clara. (Ari Davis)

BYU men’s basketball swept a two-game road trip to the Bay Area with a 96-62 win over Santa Clara Saturday afternoon. The Cougars improved to 19-8 overall and 10-4 in the West Coast Conference.

“It was a huge game, a huge weekend,” said senior guard Chase Fischer. “This team, after a disappointing Pacific loss, banded together and we never lost confidence. We came out here with the right mindset.”

Freshman guard Nick Emery is the first BYU freshman to score more than 30 points in back-to-back games. He passed Danny Ainge’s previous single-game freshman scoring record of 36 points with 37 points against San Francisco on February 11, and followed it up 31 points against Santa Clara. Emery shot a total of 69 percent from the field, 65 percent from beyond the arc and 100 percent from the free throw line in the two-game road trip.

BYU head coach Dave Rose said the team has come to rely on Fischer as a consistent scorer, but added the team could use a “really consistent” second option.

“What we’ve seen here the last two games is something pretty special,” Rose said. “Hopefully he can continue to just be really positive about his game and about his year and how he’s playing and not let a lot of outside things creep in.”

The Cougars and the Broncos had four ties and three lead changes in the first seven minutes of the game, staying within three points of each other. But BYU broke away for the rest of the game after Santa Clara tied it 19-19 with 13:02 left in the half. The Cougars built a double-digit lead and connected on 19-of-28 attempts to shoot 68 percent from the field in the first half. Santa Clara came within eight points but BYU’s efficient shooting gave it a 51-32 lead at halftime.

Rose said the Cougars wanted to “get aggressive early” and not “settle for 3-point shots.” Fischer added that the team went into the game wanting to attack.

“I think the way we play can take teams’ confidence away because we score really fast, we make tough buckets, we share the ball,” Fischer said. “And our defense was really good today, we rebounded well.”

BYU shot 59 percent from the field after shooting 58 percent the previous game against San Francisco. The Cougars extended their lead to 34 points and left with a 96-62 victory.

“We played really well together as a team on both ends of the floor,” Rose said. “There’s no question this is the best back-to-back road trip game we’ve played for the season.”

Emery led BYU with 31 points while Fischer had 22 points, five rebounds and six assists. Senior guard Kyle Collinsworth contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Junior forward Kyle Davis also recorded 10 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Corbin Kaufusi had nine points and seven rebounds. Twelve Cougars saw playing time on the floor, allowing some of the younger players to gain more experience.

The Cougars travel to play San Diego Thursday, February 18 before hosting the Toreros two days later on Saturday, February 20.

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