BYU men's basketball: Brandon Davies leads BYU past Montana, 85-60
Ravell Call, Deseret News
The Cougars (4-2) jumped out to a fast start against Montana and cruised to an 85-60 victory before a crowd of 12,378 Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Haws finished with 18 points, leaving him just two points short of tying Devin Durrant for the school record of seven consecutive 20-point games to start a season.
The sophomore guard, who scored at least 20 points in each of his first six games, shrugged it off.
"I really didn't hear about (the streak) until the media told me about it," Haws said. "I come into every game with the same mindset. I'm going to take my good shots and hopefully they fall. I think I came up short. It's alright."
Meanwhile, Davies recorded a double double, pouring in a game-high 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also had a career-high six assists, two blocks and four steals in 33 minutes.
"I thought we shared the ball really well," Davies said. "Everyone was finishing plays and everyone was playing on attack. When we're playing like that, we're hard to beat."
But perhaps Davies' most important stat of the night? Zero fouls. Earlier this season — and earlier in his career — he found himself sitting on the bench for long stretches, particularly in the first half, due to foul trouble.
"Coaches really challenged me not to get any dumb fouls and to stay in the game," Davies said. "They told me the team needs me in there. I think did pretty good."
Davies' ability to stay in the game is "huge," Haws said. "He draws so much attention on offense and gets guys open shots. He's a defensive presence on the other end. He makes everyone better."
Davies also made 17 trips to the free-throw line against the Grizzlies, though he connected on just nine. Going into the game, Davies had made 12 straight free throws, but he missed his first five before hitting nine of his final 12 from the charity stripe.
"If it wasn't for him struggling at the line," said coach Dave Rose, "I think it was one of his best games."
Forward Josh Sharp also turned in one of his best performances, scoring a career-high 13 points and pulling down eight boards.
As a team, BYU nailed 9-of-21 3-pointers, including two apiece from Craig Cusick, Brock Zylstra and Agustin Ambrosino.
"It was a team effort. Everyone played well," Haws said. "Everyone that came into the game gave us great minutes."
BYU never trailed Wednesday. Haws hit a jumper seconds after the opening tipoff to kickstart a 14-2 run for the Cougars. Montana spent the game trying to catch up.
"We wanted to come out strong and get consecutive stops," Haws said. "When we get consecutive stops and rebound and run, we're pretty good."
"I thought we played well. I'm really pleased with the start of the game," Rose said. "Defensively, we got off to a great start and challenged every shot early. Offensively, we got open shots and hit them so we got off to a nice lead."
However, while BYU led 42-31 at halftime, Rose was not pleased with the Cougars' rebounding, or lack thereof. At that point, the Grizzlies were outrebounding BYU, 17-8, and the Cougars hadn't grabbed a single offensive rebound.
That issue was addressed at intermission. In the second half, BYU snatched 12 offensive rebounds and outrebounded Montana overall, 35-30.
“I don’t think we had a single offensive rebound in the first half, and that is something we do," Davies said. "They did a great job getting us out of that. But in the second half, we came out and we got an offensive rebound on the first possession.”
Rose liked what he saw overall from his players against the Grizzlies.
"It's a tough team. They're very physical," he said. "It's hard to get the ball in the post and they contest everything. I thought that we got stronger as the game went on, which is a good sign when you play a team like that."
All in all, the Cougars enjoyed another visit to EnergySolutions Arena, their home-away-from home.
"We love coming here. We love playing in here," Davies said. "We have a lot of wins in here. We've beaten a lot of good teams in here."
BYU visits Iowa State Saturday (noon, Cyclones.tv).
NOTES: Forward Nate Austin, who is dealing with some nagging injuries, played just two minutes. BYU shot 62.5 percent (15 for 24) from the field in the first half for its best field-goal percentage in a first half this season and its third time to shoot over 50 percent in the first half. The Cougars outscored Montana 32-16 in the paint and 26-7 off turnovers. BYU is now 5-0 this season when it scores between 80-89 points and 4-0 when it shoots better than 50 percent from the field.
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