PROVO — Problem fixed.
It was an emphasis of coach Dave Rose in practice this week that the Cougars share the ball better, move it side to side better and quicker, get deeper touches in the post, score in the post, and score via inside-to-out passing.
The Cougars were dribbling too much, and Rose was looking for more assists and more easy baskets. He got all of that from his guys Saturday night — and it happened a lot.
"It just looked more like us," Rose said. "The ball was going from side to side. We had lot of wide-open shots that we got as a result of making the extra pass. We had 23 assists for 38 baskets, and that's a lot better for us."
When things didn't go correctly, the Cougars made up for it with hustle — as their 19 offensive rebounds and their 58-39 overall rebounding advantage confirms.
"We had some guys that really went after the ball. They missed a lot of shots, which led to a lot of rebounds, but we did a pretty good job of limiting them to one shot, which is a big part of our game plan," Rose said.
The Cougars also put on a transition clinic because of their overall outstanding defense. Because they owned the boards, they were getting out and running on every missed Chicago State shot. The Cougars also had 16 steals, with Jackson Emery totaling four in the first half alone.
"You have to get stops before you can run," BYU freshman guard Kyle Collinsworth said.
The Cougars were clicking from the very beginning. It wasn't long before it became only a matter of how big BYU's margin of victory would be. Then it became a question of whether the Cougars would reach the century. The mystery then became how early BYU would reach the century mark.
When Jimmer Fredette, who scored a game-high 27 in only 21 minutes of action, hit his second trey, the Cougars led 22-6. When he hit his third 3, the Cougars led 27-9. When Jackson Emery drilled a 3, BYU's lead was 32-13.
A dunk by Brandon Davies pushed BYU's lead to 24. A fast-break dunk by Fredette put the Cougars up 44-15, which was only the fifth dunk of Fredette's BYU career.
"We've all been waiting for it," sophomore center Brandon Davies said. "It was a nice surprise for everyone ... I think it set a tone for the rest of the game."
A steal and dunk by Emery made it a 51-18 score. A put-back hoop by Kyle Collinsworth extended the lead to 35, with the Cougars eventually taking a 60-29 lead into intermission.
The Cougars didn't hold back in the second half, either. When Fredette scored a 2-and-1 with 14:14 remaining, the Cougars led 80-35. The starters spent the rest of the game on the bench from there.
As for reaching the 100-point mark? It came with 4:23 remaining on a Kyle Collinsworth free throw.
"We just emphasized playing how we play, and when we do that, we can beat anyone," Davies said.
The Cougars had six players in double figures and 11 players scored. In addition to Fredette's 27, Davies and Chris Collinsworth scored 15 each, Kyle Collinsworth scored 12, Logan Magnusson 11 and Emery 10 more.
Saturday's game was the first of four in the South Padre Island Invitational. Game 2 is Tuesday night against Mississippi Valley State at the Marriott Center.
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