PROVO — Second-half shooting and strong rebounding by a basically four-guard lineup is what led BYU to a win Saturday over Wyoming that secured a shared of the Mountain West Conference title and a No. 1 seed in next week's tournament.
The Cougars were shooting only 42 percent in the first half, but turned up the heat with 68-percent shooting in the second half. On the other side, the Cowboys shot 50 percent in the first half and only 47 percent in the second half.
The big numbers, however, came from guard Charles Abouo, who erupted for 21 second-half points to help the Cougars break loose from a 38-35 halftime lead. As usual, Jimmer Fredette led BYU with 38 points and hit 12-of-24 shots, and 10-of-12 from the line.
Perhaps the biggests numbers came in how BYU won the big-men numbers. Without the services of sophomore center Brandon Davies, the Cougars still held a 21-15 rebounding advantage at the break and an 8-2 edge on offensive boards. The result was a 9-2 advantage in second-chance points and a 33-26 advantage in shots taken.7 comments on this story
The troubling numbers for BYU at the intermission, however, were the assists-to-baskets stats and assists-to-turnover stats. The Cougars had only six assists on 14 baskets in the first 20 minutes and six turnovers. Both teams were 6-of-10 from the line at the half.
But the Cougars got clicking in the second half, and hit 21-of-31 shots after the break. Even though they had only four more assists, the had only three second-half turnovers.
The most amazing stat in BYU's win is how it outscored Wyoming 46-26 in the paint with a much-smaller lineup. The Cougars' guards grabbed 25 rebounds. The Cougars also shot 39 percent from 3-point range, and Jackson Emery (18 points) was 4-of-5, and Fredette was 4-of-9.