The game seemingly couldn't have started any better for BYU Cougars on Thursday as the took on the Santa Clara Broncos. Using some good defense, Santa Clara shot 2-13 in the opening 8 minutes of the game, and getting in transition to start the game on an 8-0 run. BYU looked much more aggressive in the opening minutes as they got to the rim early and often, not just in transition but in the half court as well. The Cougars quickly jumped out to a double digit lead and were never threatened as they won by a score of 81-46.
BYU continued to play well defensively forcing 7 turnovers and holding the Broncos to 29% shooting in the first half. Santa Clara's two best players, Jared Brownridge (15.2 ppg) and Brandon Clark (16.2 ppg) were held to a combined 9 points on 3 of 14 shooting. BYU played well offensively, shooting 54%, by using their defense to get out in transition and not settling for jump-shots in the half court. The Cougars lead by 28 at one point, but the Broncos cut it to 19 at the half.
BYU opened the second half with Anson Winder and Chase Fischer each hitting 2 three pointers. The Cougars came out playing an aggressive zone defense that lead to turnovers and long rebounds allowing BYU to get into transition for easy looks at the basket. Clark continued to struggle with his shooting and BYU was able to stretch their lead out to 30 and they never looked back. Ultimately, Santa Clara was completely outmatched by BYU and could never really get anything going offensively, and couldn't stop BYU defensively.
BYU was very balanced offensively. Tyler Haws and Fischer both scored 14 points to lead the Cougars. Kyle Collinsworth continued his stat sheet stuffing ways despite only shooting 3-9 for 8 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals, including a great sequence where he pulled an offensive rebound and saved the ball directly to Fischer for a 3. Skyler Halford, Jake Toolson, and Anson Winder also pitched in with 8 points. Santa Clara was lead by Clark with 12 and Brownridge with 10.
Even though the game was so lopsided there are some big takeaways from this game. The progress of Corbin Kaufusi continues. He had 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots, which doesn't include the many shots he altered. Also Frank Bartley IV played well with 6 points and a great chase down block at the end of the game. He also had two great passes that should have been assists except that Kaufusi got fouled and Ryan Andrus missed a layup.
BYU will next travel to San Francisco to take on the Dons on Saturday, January 3rd at 9 pm MST. The game can be seen on CSN Bay Area Root Sports.