Kyle Davis scored 17 points and hauled in a BYU men's basketball record for a season opener with 20 rebounds as the Cougars earned an easy season opening victory over Utah Valley, 85-54. Chase Fischer added 20 points on 7 of 13 shooting, and Kyle Collinsworth might have gotten a triple double had this game not been a blowout, finishing with 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Leading the way for Utah Valley was Konner Frey with 17 points and 6 rebounds. The BYU defense stifled the UVU offense, limiting them to under 27 percent shooting for the game and just 5 for 29 from beyond the arc. The only other Wolverine in double figures was Ivory Young, who scored 13 points on just 4 for 15 shooting.
The Cougars got off to a cold shooting start, making just two field goals in the first five minutes, but back-to-back three pointers from Chase Fischer opened up a 15-2 lead. The game was never close after that point, as BYU never led by less than 13 and pushed the lead over 30 points in the second half, cruising to the easy victory.
It was a difficult return to the Marriott Center for former BYU assistant and current UVU head coach Mark Pope, but he was without two of his best players due to injury. The Wolverines played admirably and should still be a tough out in the WAC this season.
BYU Player Highlights
Kyle Collinsworth: While it's hard to criticize the stat line he finished with, he took a lot of ill-advised shots, especially a few three pointers early in the game that did not even come close to going in. Additionally, he made a couple of poor decisions on offense, getting up in the air to pass and turning the ball over. He was much better when he attacked the basket and did a nice job posting up to score his points.
Kyle Davis: If there's anyone who can prevent Collinsworth from earning enough rebounds to get a triple-double, it would be Davis. He has an instinct for the ball that cannot be matched by many players in college basketball. Offensively, he showed nice touch on a couple of outside shots including a three-pointer. He did have a couple of questionable passes out of the post and only went 4 of 9 at the charity stripe (including an air ball), but there isn't too much to complain about his performance tonight.
Chase Fischer: Fischer might have been the second most impressive player on the court tonight, showing much more versatility on offense than we saw last season. He attacked the basket in transition to earn fouls and get BYU in the bonus, hit several mid-range jump shots off of screens and one dribble pull-ups, and still made the three pointers we are accustomed to. It would not surprise me if he ends up leading the team in scoring this season.
Corbin Kaufusi: Kaufusi didn't do anything too special, but did have a few nice post moves and a put back dunk, finishing with six points on 2 of 4 shooting to go along with eight rebounds. He looks more confident going to the jump hook than he did last season, which is a good sign for the BYU frontcourt.
Jake Toolson: The preseason hype for Toolson might have been a little too strong, as we did not see the aggression attacking the basket that we saw in the exhibition games. He is still an excellent outside shooter, but it remains to be seen how much more he can do in a game environment, finishing with just three points on 1 for 2 shooting.
Nick Emery: Emery looked fairly comfortable in his first game of college basketball, but needs to improve his decision making when driving to the basket. A couple of times he went up for a shot and got blocked when he should have looked to kick the ball out to a shooter. He looked good on his mid range jump shot and the three-point shots should become more accurate as the season goes on and he gets more experienced. For the night, Emery finished with 10 points on 4 of 11 shooting.
Nate Austin: Nothing has really changed from the last couple of seasons. Austin brings a ton of energy to this team, as he finished with eight rebounds and a few more deflections that led to extra possessions on offense. He also took a charge, but continued his trend of unnecessary fouls that put him in foul trouble. He did not score tonight, but will be a valuable piece to the BYU team this season without stats to back it up.
Jakob Hartsock: Hartsock played almost exclusively at the power forward spot (except for the final few minutes), and will have to play better than he did tonight in order to stay ahead of the injured Jamal Aytes in the rotation. He missed his two three-point attempts badly, and did not do anything particularly impressive on either end of the floor.
Others: Zac Seljaas, Braiden Shaw, Cory Calvert, Jordan Chatman, and Cooper Ainge all saw some time in the final few minutes of the game when the outcome had already been decided. There was not a large enough sample size on any of this players to make any firm conclusions on how they might pan out this season.
The Cougars will travel to play at Long Beach State in the ESPN College Basketball Tip-Off Marathon. Make sure to get a good night's sleep on Sunday night, because the game tips off on Monday Night at 11:45 PM Mountain/Tuesday Morning 1:45 AM Eastern. The game will be on ESPN2 with Steve Quis and Brad Daugherty on the call.