Kyle Collinsworth had his best scoring game in conference play with 25 points as the BYU Cougars rallied from a double digit first half deficit to defeat the San Diego Toreros 69-67 on Thursday nght at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Collinsworth added 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and an impressive (for him) 10/14 from the free throw line. Nick Emery and Chase Fischer were both held scoreless in the first half, but combined to score 26 points in the second half (Fischer 14, Emery 12), which was key in BYU's turnaround.
San Diego featured four double figure scorers, led by Vasa Pusica with 17 points on 3/5 from beyond the arc. Duda Sanadze and Olin Carter finished with 16 and 15 points respectively, while Cameron Neubauer added 11 points on a perfect 3/3 from distance.
BYU really struggled to finish from all areas on the floor to start this game, and they had a few defensive lapses which left San Diego's shooters more open than they should have been. As a result, the Toreros got out to a 30-17 lead with 7:28 left in the first half. The Cougars chipped away behind the energy and effort from Collinsworth on the offensive glass, and the huge momentum swing came when Jordan Chatman hit a three pointer for BYU with 10 seconds in the half, cutting the Toreros lead to 32-27 and capping off a 13-2 run.
The Cougars took their first lead since the opening minutes with 15:18 left in the game, and the score remained tight for most of the second half until BYU pushed the lead to 66-58 after a layup and a long jump shot by Fischer. While the Cougars did not hit a field goal in the final 3:24 of the game, Emery hit 3/4 free throws in the final minute to seal the deal, as the Toreros never had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds.
These two teams will meet again on Saturday at the Marriott Center, where BYU will look to build on their momentum from closing out a difficult victory. However, because they have been known for Saturday letdowns after Thursday victories, the Cougars will need to keep their focus right out of the gates. The players know what is at stake, so that should not be too much of an issue for Dave Rose's squad.