Behind a hot start from Kyle Collinsworth, the Cougars got out to a big lead and the Lions never recovered as BYU outlasted Loyola Marymount 85-74 on Saturday afternoon.
Collinsworth scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the first eight minutes of the game to propel the Cougars to a 26-10 lead midway through the first half. The Lions chipped away at the lead and managed to cut the deficit to 43-36 at the break. The game stayed relatively close throughout the second half, but BYU always had an answer when the Lions cut the lead to single digits.
After Collinsworth, BYU was led by Tyler Haws who finished with 22 points and Anson Winder who chipped in with 16.
The starting backcourt
The guards played a spectacular game for the Cougars. Collinsworth led BYU in scoring on the strength of a 10-of-15 shooting night. He also tallied a game-high 16 rebounds while getting three steals. Haws struggled from 3-point range, but played well otherwise. He finished 9-of-22 from the floor while gathering six rebounds and handing out two assists. Winder played impressively on both ends of the floor in the win. He shot 4-of-7 from the floor and was perfect from the line on eight free-throw attempts. Winder also added three assists and six steals.
The starting frontcourt
Nate Austin was a force on the offensive glass. Even though he was credited with just three offensive boards, Austin gave the Cougars plenty of extra possessions by keeping balls alive and tapping the ball out to teammates. He ended up with two points and seven rebounds. Luke Worthington played solid in limited minutes and finished with three points.
Matt Carlino struggled with his shot making just 3-of-11 shots from the floor, but made 5-of-6 free-throws to finished with 11 points. Eric Mika didn't shoot well, but was a presence on the offensive glass. He put up seven points and four rebounds. Skyler Halford, Josh Sharp and Frank Bartley IV combined to play 11 minutes and accounted for one point, three rebounds, an assist and a pair of steals.
Coach Dave Rose mixed the defense for the Cougars which helped keep the Lions off-balance. He went with the hot hand keeping Winder, Haws and Collinsworth on the floor for a total 107 out of 120 minutes. Rose also made sure the BYU defense had correct matchups to slow down the dynamic LMU backcourt of Evan Payne and Anthony Ireland. It worked very well as the pair shot a combined 9-of-26 from the floor to go along with eight turnovers.
The starting backcourt played one of its best games of the season and everyone else played well enough for the Cougars to come away with an 11-point win in the West Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals. The Cougars need more contributions off the bench and more scoring from the frontcourt if they expect the same result against San Francisco on Monday night.