OGDEN — On the opening possession of Saturday's instate game between BYU and Weber State, the Cougars worked around the globe against Weber State and eventually found Brandon Davies establishing position on the lower block. The Cougars quickly dished the rock to the big fella, and — after shredding one defender — the 6-foot-9 senior flushed a one-handed dunk.
It was a sign of things to come.
Davies had many more impressive buckets during the rest of the night, finishing with a career-high 33 points in dominating fashion. His efforts helped BYU withstand an early second-half surge at the Dee Events Center and eventually win, 78-68.
“Our staff talked about it all week, that we need someone to be really consistent the whole game through as far as scoring the ball for us, and Brandon was that for us tonight,” said BYU coach Dave Rose, whose team improved to 7-3. “Consistently throughout the whole 40 minutes we could get a basket or two out of him at crucial times.”
Davies finished 14 of 17 from the field, mostly shooting within 5 feet of the hoop, and knocked down 5 of 6 from the free-throw line while adding eight rebounds.
“We started playing inside-out and I got a couple good looks at the basket early on. The coaches felt comfortable to keep going to it,” Davies said. “Once you get in a rhythm and get feeling good, your teammates get confident in you and they expect you to make plays. They’re going to keep throwing you the ball and I felt like I did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
“From to start to finish it might be his best (game),” Rose added of Davies. “He’s had moments — I remember the last 12-15 points at Creighton a couple years ago where he was magnificent. But, from start to finish he was on it ready to go.”
Weber State (4-3) took its first and only lead after consecutive dunks from Frank Otis and Kyle Tresnak and looked to be well within control. However, at the 16:26 mark Tresnak was whistled for his second personal on an offensive charge and was forced to sit the remainder of the first half.
“I thought it was really big. Tres is a really good post defender but Brandon was really good tonight,” Wildcats’ coach Randy Rahe said. “We played him one-on-one to start the game because he’s so good when you double him because he’s such a good passer and then we got him going. Credit goes to Brandon. He played terrific. I wish we would have Tres in there a little more, but part of that is Brandon got him in foul trouble.”
With the absence of Tresnak, the reigning Big Sky Player of the Week, BYU closed the half on a 26-16 run behind Davies and Tyler Haws — who combined for 30 first-half points. At one point, the two were the only Cougars to score until Cory Calvert connected on a free throw with under five minutes remaining. Haws finished with 23 points and was a perfect 10 for 10 from the charity stripe. No other BYU player reached double figures.
The ‘Cats, trailing by 10 at the start of the second half, did come out swinging in the second half. After Davies chipped in a gimmie in the paint, Davion Berry exploded for seven straight points. Then, following a runner from Jordan Richardson and three missed shots from the Cougars, Berry cut the deficit to 42-40 on an and-one layup.
Berry finished with a team- season-high 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while the Wildcats once again struggled at the free-throw line, shooting 14 of 25, including 2 for 9 in the first half.
The Cougars, out of a called timeout, responded with a 17-7 run to balloon the lead back up and in turn deflate Weber State’s chances. In the end, it put an end to the Wildcats' 20-game home winning streak, which was the fourth longest streak in the nation.
“It’s a big win. We knew this would take a great effort on our part,” Rose said. ”We withstood two or three really emotional, physical runs they put on us and were able to get back on top of it. I’m just proud of our guys. I thought they were terrific all night.”
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @tphibbsami