Fans earn free frozen dessert as BYU downs San Francisco, 81-56
BYU fans earn free frozen yogurt as the Cougars gained an easy win against San Francisco
Tom Smart, Deseret News
PROVO — Perhaps the biggest cheer Saturday at the Marriott Center was saved for last, as BYU's Nate Austin dunked the ball at the final buzzer.
That play didn't determine the outcome. No, the game was essentially decided sometime midway through the first half.
The last-second, rim-rocking slam by Austin simply pushed the Cougars above the 80-point plateau, which meant free frozen yogurt for the 14,823 fans in attendance thanks to a promotion.
That pretty much tells you all you need to know about BYU's easy 81-56 victory over San Francisco.
Let's put it this way: the Cougars' 3-point shooting was hotter than Rice-A-Roni (12-of-19 for 63 percent) while the Dons' 3-point shooting was colder than frozen yogurt (6-of-29 for 21 percent).
Leading the way for BYU was junior guard Brock Zylstra, who enjoyed a perfect day shooting — 8-of-8 from the field, including 6-of-6 from 3-point territory — for a game-high 22 points in 25 minutes of play.
"Brock was really good tonight," said coach Dave Rose. "One thing that I get excited about as a coach is when a player plays that well and teammates continue to find him and get him open looks.
"Our post guys have been so consistent that they're getting a lot of attention. If they get double-teamed it can really help us when our perimeter guys can knock it in."
Noah Hartsock (14), Brandon Davies (12) and Matt Carlino (12) also reached double figures for the Cougars. Almost everybody got into the act for BYU, as every player but one scored.
"When guys on our team get the opportunity, we seize it," said Zylstra.
Remarkably, the Cougars recorded an assist on 27 of their 29 baskets. One of the two unassisted buckets came on Austin's final dunk after a missed jumper by Nick Martineau.
Davies tied a career-high with six assists while Charles Abouo dished out a career-high seven assists.
"I thought we played really hard and we played together," said Rose. "We shared the ball really well. Defensively, we were really good at times as far as keeping (USF) on the perimeter and not getting through our defense."
With the win, BYU improved to 14-4 overall and 3-1 in the West Coast Conference. San Francisco dropped to 10-7, 0-3.
The Cougars opened the game by going inside to Davies and Hartsock. Davies made his first four shots and scored nine of BYU's first 13 points.
"The last four or five games we really got the ball inside to see how they would guard us," Rose said. "Tonight, Brandon scored really well early. Noah had some tough shots go in and then it became evident that our post guys would have to be more facilitators than scorers tonight, especially how our guys were shooting the ball."
A 25-4 first-half run by BYU featured four consecutive 3-pointers, including three in a row by Zylstra. That spurt was capped by another 3-pointer, from Stephen Rogers, to give the Cougars a commanding 32-10 advantage with six minutes left in the half.
During that stretch, the Dons went six minutes without scoring and more than 10 minutes without a field goal. They missed all 14 of their 3-point attempts in the first half.
The Dons drilled a couple of 3-pointers early in the second half to end their drought, and they actually knocked down 6-of-15 treys over the final 20 minutes.
In the first half, after making their first three shots, the Dons went 5-for-28 the rest of the half.
USF coach Rex Walters acknowledged that his team struggled with BYU's defense.
"We were always trying to play catch-up against their zone," he said. "I'm watching our guys and they won't even look at the basket and that's bad coaching on my part."
"Even though they were 0-for-14 (in the first half), we didn't challenge them very much," Zylstra said. "They got going in the second half. We knew that was going to come if we weren't going to guard them they were going to start hitting them, which they did."
Still, the Cougars enjoyed a 24-7 run in the second half, which ended with another Zylstra 3-pointer, to give the Cougars a 34-point lead, their biggest of the game, with 11:30 remaining.
At that point, BYU led 67-33 and the only question was, would the fans receive their free frozen yogurt?
It almost didn't happen because the Cougars didn't score for nearly six minutes. But in the end, Austin came through in resounding fashion. And the fans left happy.
Even a couple of BYU players said they might stop in for a free frozen dessert Saturday night.
"Nate will probably be there first," Davies joked.
The Cougars don't play again until next Saturday, when they host Santa Clara (6 p.m., MST, ESPNU).
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