LAS VEGAS – No. 3 BYU men’s basketball team fought hard to take down No. 6 Santa Clara University 72-60 Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars held a 17-point lead in the first half, but the Broncos fought back multiple times to come within one or two points.
“Things got tight late and I thought we executed really well down the stretch,” said BYU head coach Dave Rose.
Freshman guard Nick Emery ignited the Cougars with 11 first-half points while other BYU players struggled to score. BYU dominated, but Santa Clara whittled the lead to 10 points with the Cougars up 35-25 at halftime.
Bronco junior Jared Brownridge led both of Santa Clara’s second half comebacks, scoring 18 of his 30 points in that half. The Broncos came within one score twice before BYU pulled away with the win.
“It showed toughness on our part that we could bounce back and that we were able to win this game,” senior guard Kyle Collinsworth said.
Santa Clara out-rebounded BYU, but the Cougars shot more efficiently. BYU outshot Santa Clara 44 percent to 36 percent.
Emery led the Cougars with 15 points. Senior guard Chase Fischer scored 14 points while Collinsworth added 13 points and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Zac Seljaas scored 12 points off the bench and junior forward Kyle Davis had 11.
The Cougars play the winner of tonight’s Portland-Gonzaga quarterfinal game on Monday, March 7 at 7 or 9:30 (MST).