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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Brandon Davies (0) screams after slamming against the San Diego Toreros in Provo Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011.

PROVO — BYU jumped out early on San Diego and then cruised to an easy 88-52 victory. The Cougars were led by their frontcourt, with Noah Hartsock starting them off and Brandon Davies finishing them off.

Davies has struggled with consistency for much of the season, but has seemingly found his stride, opening WCC play with two straight dominant performances. He ended the afternoon with 21 points, but more impressively 22 rebounds, dominating the play on both ends of the court.

The Cougars stepped up their defensive pressure, tightening up their rotation while contesting most of San Diego’s jump-shot attempts

The Toreros did score the first basket of the game before Hartsock ripped off eight straight points. Following a thunderous dunk by Davies, San Diego called timeout to regroup, down 10-2 with 16:24 remaining.

San Diego didn’t score its next points until the 11:56 mark to move to within nine at 13-4. Its next field goal didn’t come until the 9:07 mark.

The Cougars closed the half with 14-9 run to end the half up 34-24. Hartsock led all scorers at the break with 13, but the stat of the half was Davies pulling down 14 rebounds.

The second half of play started much like the first, with BYU jumping out on an 11-2 run, forcing San Diego into taking a timeout with 16:41 left in the half down 45-26. Unlike the first half, the Cougars didn’t let up.

About the only problem the Cougars suffered during the second half was Hartsock’s never-ending nosebleed, which led to only scant minutes played by the team’s leading scorer. Freshman Nate Austin filled in admirably for Hartsock.

Although Matt Carlino started the game, Rose elected to go with backup Craig Cusick at the point. Carlino didn’t see action in the second half until the 12:45 mark.

With the win the Cougars move to 12-4 on the year and 1-1 in conference play. Their next game will be at Loyola Marymount on Thursday Jan. 5.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney