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Coming off another triple-double, Collinsworth to lead BYU into big road game at Pepperdine

Published: Friday, Jan. 22 2016 5:20 p.m. MST

BYU's Kyle Collinsworth passes the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Spokane, Wash. Collinsworth had his 10th career triple-double on Thursday in the Cougars' come-from-behind win at Loyola Marymount.

Young Kwak, AP

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MALIBU, Calif. — When it comes to triple-doubles, BYU guard Kyle Collinsworth is now in double figures. And when it comes to assists, he's the school's all-time king in that category.

Collinsworth recorded his 10th career triple-double — an ongoing NCAA record — in the Cougars' 91-80 victory at Loyola Marymount Thursday.

His stat line: 10 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists, five steals and two blocks in 39 minutes. The game was played at a frenetic pace that Collinsworth thrives on and, as usual, he impacted the contest in countless ways.

“He is an extremely unique player,” said coach Dave Rose. “I’ve been coaching for 30-plus years and the skill set that he brings with his size is really unique and the ability to dominate a collegiate basketball game.”

Along the way Thursday, Collinsworth also became the school's all-time leader in career assists (579), surpassing Matt Montague (570). He was one assist shy of tying the BYU single-game assist record, held by Mike May, who dished out 16 in 1976.

Guard Nick Emery, who scored a team-high 24 points against LMU, called Collinsworth’s latest triple-double performance “incredible. He does so much for this team, not only on the court but off the court as well. He’s always getting our minds right. That’s amazing what he’s done.”

Against LMU, BYU dug itself out of a 15-point, first-half deficit as the Lions shot 68 percent over the first 20 minutes.

For the Cougars, another formidable challenge awaits Saturday (6 p.m., MST, BYUtv) when they visit Pepperdine.

The Waves (12-7, 5-3) are 8-0 at home this season for the first time in 30 years and have won five of their last six games.

Pepperdine pounded San Diego 76-58 Thursday at Firestone Fieldhouse as Lamond Murray Jr. scored 21 points and Stacy Davis chipped in 18 with 10 rebounds.

Last season, the Waves swept the season series with BYU, winning in Provo and Malibu.

“They got us twice last year,” said Emery. “Obviously, that’s a chip on our shoulder. They’re a great team and they’re playing really well right now.”

Certainly, the Cougars expended a lot of energy and effort to get past LMU.

“We’ll see how much we’ve got left on Saturday,” Rose said. “The guys left a lot out there.”

At the top of the list is Collinsworth. Some of what he did Thursday doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, including spending time in the second half defending LMU star forward Adom Jacko, who finished with a game-high 26 points and 12 rebounds.

“A big adjustment was when Kyle got on him,” Rose said. “Kyle was able to get to the perimeter and take away some of those shots that he had.”

Collinsworth’s focus going into Thursday’s game was to involve his teammates and he didn’t even attempt his first field goal until late in the first half.

“My biggest emphasis is getting guys shots first and getting guys going and if I score, I score. If I don’t, I don’t,” Collinsworth said. “I’m not too worried about that.”

“When Kyle gets going on assists, he plays a lot better, he gets more rebounds and he gets that confidence and he just battles,” Emery said. “I remember a time where he may have gotten two or three rebounds in a row. The ball went out on (LMU) and he just screamed. That gets him going and us going as well, his team leadership.”

As a team, BYU scored 32 field goals on 28 assists against the Lions, a stat that Rose relishes because it indicates that his players are sharing the ball.

At halftime, when the Cougars were down 50-40, BYU's coaching staff urged its players to play as a team.

"Coach has been talking about that all week," Emery said. "In the first half, we had 15 field goals on 14 assists. That really got us going. In the second half we played together.”

Chase Fischer (5), Emery (4) and Zac Seljaas (4) combined to knock down 13 3-pointers. BYU shot 59 percent in the second half, compared to LMU's 33 percent.

Collinsworth wasn’t aware that he had broken the school assists record until a reporter asked him about it after the game.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s just kind of how I’ve always played. I’m a pass-first guy. I’m just trying to get my teammates involved. It’s awesome to see that pay off.”

Now the Cougars are hoping this Southern California road swing will pay off by beating Pepperdine. A week ago, BYU failed to capitalize on a victory at Gonzaga when they fell to Portland.

“It’s a confidence-booster,” Emery said of Thursday’s win at LMU. “We lost a hard one last Saturday and that’s the WCC. You can’t lose those types of games but this one is getting us back on track.”

EMAIL: jeffc@deseretnews.com

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