We were playing at a slower pace. As the game went along and we got to the second half, we sped up a little bit and got more like ourselves in the way we played. —BYU guard Anson Winder
PROVO — Like in the season-opening win over Long Beach State last Friday, BYU eclipsed the 90-point threshold again Tuesday in a win over Arkansas-Little Rock.
Like against LBSU — which scored 90 points — the Cougars started out slow but picked things up at the start of the second half.
Unlike against LBSU, BYU pulled away from UALR and earned a dominating 91-62 victory before a crowd of 12,469 at the Marriott Center.
“They kind of got us out of our rhythm in the first half. It showed a little bit because the score was pretty close,” said BYU guard Anson Winder. “We were playing at a slower pace. As the game went along and we got to the second half, we sped up a little bit and got more like ourselves in the way we played.”
The Cougars (2-0) led 37-28 at halftime, then hit 23 of 39 shots (59 percent) from the floor in the second half. BYU led by as many as 31.
Chase Fischer scored a team-high 19 points, including four 3-pointers, and Tyler Haws added 18 to go along with five assists. Nate Austin nearly recorded a double-double, finishing with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Winder, who came off the bench, may have been the difference in the second half, chipping in nine points and grabbing five rebounds.
“Anson was really good attacking. That’s kind of what he’s done for us at that position,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “He was kind of the spark that helped us put the game away. He took us to a really good spot.”
During his career the versatile Winder has filled a number of roles — as a starter, as a reserve, as a shooting guard and as a point guard.
But that doesn’t bother him.
“I’ve gotten used to it,” he said. “I come in and whatever the team needs I hope to do. I’ve kind of accepted that role and I’ve embraced it. As long as we get the win, that’s all that matters.”
BYU outscored the Trojans (1-1) in the paint, 52-20. Early in the game, Cougar forward Luke Worthington scored a couple of buckets and at halftime, he had seven shot attempts — more than Fischer or Haws.
“That’s how they were playing us,” Rose said of the inside scoring. “They kind of left our big guys free and that allowed us to get the ball in the paint. Luke had taken more shots than Chase and Ty. We’ve had a lot of scrimmages and exhibition games, and that was the first time that had happened. But I think that was by design.”
“Early on Arkansas-Little Rock was overplaying Ty and Kyle and Chase, trying to limit their shot attempts,” Austin said. “Luke happened to be wide open. After Luke scored a couple of buckets down low, it opened up the whole offense for us.”
The Cougars also outscored UALR off turnovers, 24-7; had a 14-0 advantage on fast-break points; and outscored the Trojans’ bench, 34-21.
With the score tied at 21, BYU outscored Arkansas-Little Rock 16-7 over the final eight-plus minutes of the first half to take a 37-28 advantage at intermission.
The Cougars opened the second half with a 14-5 run that featured 3-pointers by Haws and Fischer. A dunk by Haws gave BYU its biggest lead at that point, 51-33, with 16:30 left in the game.
Later, the Cougars enjoyed a 26-5 spurt that put them ahead 83-53 in the waning minutes.
BYU hosts Southern Virginia Wednesday night.
TIP-INS: Freshmen Dalton Nixon, Jake Toolson and Corbin Kaufusi made their first career field goals. Both of Nixon’s two field goals were dunks. Worthington finished with seven points and four rebounds. Kyle Collinsworth had five points, eight rebounds and six assists in 17 minutes Roger Woods led UARL with 19 points and nine rebounds.