Kyle Collinsworth recorded his 10th career triple double as the BYU Cougars overcame a 15 point first half deficit to defeat the Loyola Marymount Lions by a score of 91-80 on Thursday night at Gersten Pavilion. Collinsworth finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and a career-high 15 assists, while Chase Fischer and Nick Emery both shot the ball well from the outside and finished with 20 and 24 points respectively. Kyle Davis did well finishing around the basket and finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Zac Seljaas scored 12 points on 4/8 from beyond the arc after going a combined 0/6 from distance against Gonzaga and Portland last week.
The Cougars had no answer for LMU forward Adom Jacko, who poured in a career high 26 points on 11/12 shooting, playing well in the second half despite having four fouls. Steven Haney, Joshua Spiers, and Brandon Brown all had career nights shooting three pointers, combining to go 10/16 from beyond the arc. The long ball was the story in the first half for LMU, as they started out 9 for 11 on threes, getting a lot of easy looks in transition off of BYU turnovers. At the under-4 minutes media timeout, LMU had a 15 point lead on BYU after going on a 20-0 run.
However, the Law of Averages kicked for both teams, as the Lions went just 2 of their last 11 from beyond the arc in the game while BYU's shooters started heating up after starting off very cold despite getting many good looks in the first half. The Cougar defense was led by Kyle Collinsworth, who finished with 5 steals. Fischer and Nate Austin each had three steals for the Cougars, and the Lions simply did not get as many good shooting opportunities in the second half. BYU took their first lead in quite a while at the 12:54 mark in the second half off a Kyle Davis layup, and steadily built the lead from that point on, never allowing the Lions to retake the lead.
It was entirely stress free for Cougar fans, as head scratching plays such as Jordan Chatman's missed dunk with no one around him and his subsequent turnover off of a defensive rebound kept the LMU team in the game. Nick Emery hit the dagger 3 pointer with 1:43 left in the game to give BYU a 10 point lead, and the Cougars managed to hold on for a difficult but exciting (at least from the fans' perspective) victory.
While perimeter defense, turnovers, and an inability to defend the post were all issues for BYU in the first half, it was nice to see them clean up those issues in the second half for the most part. Slow starts have often plagued BYU in true road games this year, but luckily they were able to overcome those issues and come back for the victory. However, they won't have as much margin for error on Saturday at Pepperdine (who swept BYU last season). It will be interesting to see if BYU can come out locked in on both ends of the floor right from the beginning of the game.