AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi
When the BYU Cougars are bombing it in from outside, they're almost impossible to beat.
Even the No. 6 team in the country couldn't overcome the long-distance shooting the Cougars put on display Saturday at San Diego State, as BYU rolled, 80-67.
In leading from start to finish, the Cougars burned the Aztecs all game with 3-point shots. The Cougars took the lead early by hitting their first five shots from behind the arc. They finished the half hitting 7-of-10 from 3-point range. They held off every Aztecs charge by nailing another 7-of-10 bombs in the second half to finish the game 14-of-24 from 3-point range.
Jimmer Fredette led the Cougars again with 25 points and nailed 4-of-8 from deep. Perhaps Fredette's biggest stat, however, was his nine assists.
Benefitting most from those assists, and the likely players of the game, were Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo. Hartsock, who scored 15 points, got things started by going 5-of-5 in the first half and hitting his first three 3-point shots. Abouo, with 18 points, finished off the Aztecs in the second half with 4-of-5 from deep and nine rebounds.
A key number in the win was the 18 assists to 27 baskets. The only time the Cougars seemed in trouble was late in the first half when they failed to take care of the ball. In fact, six of the Cougars' 12 turnovers came late in the closing minutes of the first half. The Cougars, however, had only four second-half turnovers.
Even though the Cougars had a 14-7 disadvantage in offensive rebounds, the Aztecs failed to convert on most of those extra chances. James Rahon came off the bench for San Diego State to score 10 key points, and drew the fourth foul on BYU center Brandon Davies with 12 minutes remaining.
But the defensive job that Jackson Emery did on Aztec point guard DJ Gay for the second straight meeting with San Diego State offset Rahon's effort. Gay scored only two points when the teams met in Provo. On Saturday, Gay scored only six points and had only three assists.
Emery, meanwhile, had two steals and 13 points. The Cougars survived a thin front line and Davies' foul problems by blocking seven Aztecs shots.
The Cougars stayed in front all game by shooting 47 percent from the floor, while the Aztecs hit only 40 percent of their shots. BYU also hit 86 percent of its free throws, while San Diego State converted only 69 percent from the line.
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