PROVO — BYU’s first home game since Thanksgiving offered a smorgasbord of tasty numerical morsels.
Eric Mika, Matt Carlino and Nate Austin each posted double-doubles; Skyler Halford recorded a career-high 16 points; and Tyler Haws, who poured in a game-high 23 points, eclipsed his dad, Marty (1984-85, 1986-90), in all-time scoring at BYU.
“I’m happy I finally passed him,” Tyler said. “I’ve got bragging rights now.”
Oh, and the Cougars crushed North Texas Tuesday night at the Marriott Center, 97-67.
It was BYU’s first home game in nearly two weeks, when it fell to nationally ranked Iowa State, and the Cougars’ first game since an emotional 85-74 victory over Utah State at EnergySolutions Arena last Saturday.
“I was proud of the guys,” said coach Dave Rose. “It was a big game we played the other night (against the Aggies), and this one was just as important, but it doesn’t feel the same. You’ve got to fight through it and play.”
It took awhile for the Cougars (7-2) to get going against the Mean Green (5-4) on a snowy night that featured a late-arriving crowd (the announced attendance was 13,908).
When the game began, there were plenty of empty seats at the Marriott Center.
“On nights like this, the crowd eventually comes,” said Rose. “At tip tonight, there was probably the least amount of fans we’ve had for any tip, even our exhibition games. But I knew they’d show up.”
His players eventually showed up, too.
The two teams played even for much of the first half before the Cougars began to pull away just before halftime. In the second half, BYU outscored North Texas 55-32.
“In the first half, we didn’t play as well as we wanted to. We got off to a lot slower start than we wanted to,” Austin said. “In the second half, we tried to attack more and get buckets in transition and get buckets down low. We were able to do that a lot better.”
On the night, the Cougars outscored the Mean Green in the paint 58-20 and in fast break points 26-2. BYU outrebounded North Texas 60-38.
“We had 60 rebounds and three guys in double figures against a team that’s really athletic and strong and big inside,” said Rose.
For Mika and Austin, it marked their first career double-doubles, respectively. Meanwhile, Carlino’s double-double was a result of rebounds (10) and assists (11), which tied career highs for him in those categories — not points (five). Carlino also had seven turnovers. He was five points and three turnovers shy of the rare quadruple-double.
“We’ve had some interesting lines with our team this year,” Rose said. “That one with Matty, with 10 rebounds and 11 assists, and what he does really well for us usually is score points. Tonight, he didn’t have his best night offensively, but he had a great floor game. You take a few of those turnovers away, he really led our team.”
Austin tied a career high with 13 rebounds to go along with his 10 points and three blocked shots.
“Nate was terrific, too,” Rose said. “Nate’s been really good the last six or seven games grabbing those rebounds.”
Mika had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Kyle Collinsworth chipped in 17 points and also dished out six assists. Haws and Collinsworth combined to shoot 17 of 24 from the floor. And Halford hit 3 of 5 shots from 3-point territory.
So what does BYU take away from this game?
“I think it’s just something to build on,” Haws said. “We’re coming off a great win against a great team in Utah State. It was a challenge for us tonight. We got off to a slow start and there weren’t a lot of fans, not a lot of energy in the building. It was a challenge to get going. But it’s definitely something to build on. A lot of guys played well.”
BYU plays No. 21 UMass at the Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase in Springfield, Mass., Saturday (11:30 a.m. MST, CBSS).
NOTES: Haws is No. 19 all time in scoring at BYU with 1,342 points. Marty is No. 20 with 1,337 points. Haws also scored at least 20 points for the 35th time, moving him into seventh place all time, breaking a tie with Russell Larson (1992-95).
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