I think the offense is way better than the defense. I don't know if that's a bad sign or a good sign because usually early in the year your defense is way better than your offense. Tonight both teams scored the ball well. —Dave Rose, BYU head basketball coach
The Cougars kept running and shooting all night en route to a 112-103 victory against a Cardinal team that had held opponents to just 66 points a game last year but clearly couldn’t keep up Monday night, despite a late rally.
The 112 points was the most BYU has scored in nearly 20 years since a 128-78 victory over Sacramento State on Feb. 25, 1993. The Cougars (2-0) were led by Tyler Haws with 31 points and Matt Carlino with 26 points. Kyle Collinsworth, who returned from an LDS Church mission earlier this year, chipped in 14, while Nate Austin and freshman Eric Mika each scored 12 and Anson Winder had 10.
The Cougars overcame solid performances by Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell, who scored 33 and 28 points, respectively, for the Cardinal, who fell to 1-1 on the year. Anthony Brown added 16 for the Cardinal and John Gage had 12.
"I think the offense is way better than the defense,'' said BYU coach Dave Rose. "I don't know if that's a bad sign or a good sign because usually early in the year your defense is way better than your offense. Tonight both teams scored the ball well.''
Rose has always liked to push the ball, but wouldn't say if the team will be more of a running team this year.
"We've got a couple of guards who can really get by guys on the dribble and finish at the rim, so now we're in a situation where we're trying to find what's best for us,'' he said. "We want good open shots. It puts a lot of pressure on the other team to keep them on their heels and puts a lot of pressure on us because there's so many defensive possessions in the game.'
For the game, the Cougars shot 53.5 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from 3-point range, compared to 45.9 percent and 33.3 percent for the Cardinal. It left Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins shaking his head after the game.
“I haven’t seen a team shoot like this often,'' Dawkins said. "They shot lights-out. Give them a lot of credit. I thought they had a lot of contributions, not just from Carlino and Haws. They got a lot of contributions from a lot of the other guys in the starting lineup and their bench, and so all of those kids were kind of firing on all cylinders, shooting the ball very well.''
The Cougars raced out to a 54-46 halftime lead and kept up the offensive pressure, extending a 63-53 lead to 81-64 over a five-minute period behind Carlino, who had played just five minutes in the first half. The junior guard scored nine straight Cougar points on a layup, a 3-pointer, two free throws and a drive. The lead got as high as 19 at 97-78 on a free throw by Haws with 5:04 left.
The victory came against one of three Pac-12 opponents the Cougars will play on the road this year. Next month they play at Utah and Oregon on consecutive weekends.
It was an impressive victory for the Cougars against a veteran team that has vowed to make the NCAA tournament after a five-year absence. A headline in last week’s San Francisco Chronicle read, “It’s NCAA tourney or bust’’ for the Cardinal, who have their top four scorers back from last year’s 19-15 team that finished in the middle of the Pac-12 pack. Dawkins, in his sixth year, is on the hot seat and may need to make the NCAAs to keep his job.
Getting blown out by a West Coast Conference team at home won't help.
Stanford started off hot, making its first four shots to jump to an 11-8 lead. But then the Cardinal went cold, missing seven straight shots over a three-minute span, including four 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, the Cougars heated up as Carlino made consecutive shots; Collinsworth hit a jumper; and reserve Winder sank a 3-pointer to put the Cougars up 21-13.
Randle, who had 16 first-half points, kept the Cardinal close, and it was a three-point game at 38-35 when the Cougars exploded with a 9-0 run in a 90-second span, sparked by freshman Mika, to make it 47-35 with 3:15 left in the half.
Powell came back with a pair of impressive dunks, and Gage hit a 3-pointer, but the Cougars answered with a 3-pointer by Winder, a jumper by Collinsworth and a 12-footer by Haws with 15 seconds left to make it 54-46 at the half.
BYU will play two games at home this weekend in the Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic against Mount St. Mary’s Friday night and Colorado Mesa on Saturday night, while Stanford plays Northwestern at home Thursday night.
GAME NOTES: Collinsworth led the way with nine assists as the Cougars had 23 on the night . . . Carlino had seven of BYU's 11 turnovers . . . BYU leads the all-time series with Stanford 5-2. Stanford won the most recent meeting 62-53 at the Maui Invitational in 2004 . . . As is the case with most West Coast games, BYU had a strong contingent of fans, who nearly filled the bleachers seats high behind each basket . . . The overall attendance was 5,994, although there were a lot of empty seats . . .The game was part of ESPN’s Tipoff Marathon: 16 games played consecutively over a 24-hour period on the ESPN networks, culminating with a matchup between No. 1 Kentucky and No. 2 Michigan State Tuesday night . . . Stanford made one of the quickest first baskets possible as Stefan Nastic tipped the ball toward Stanford’s basket, Powell grabbed it and sank a layup at the 19:56 mark, just four seconds into the game . . . Last Friday night, both teams opened the season with home victories — the Cougars 81-72 over Weber State and the Cardinal 72-68 win over Bucknell . . . One of the Stanford reserves is Elliott Bullock, a 6-10 junior from Olympus High School.