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BYU vs Saint Mary's Recap: Cougars upset the Gaels 70-59

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Coach Rose earns a major resume victory in Provo

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The schedule was favorable down the stretch, Coach Rose and the Cougars were going to face the three best WCC teams in Provo in the second half of conference play. They took care of business against Pepperdine, but Saint Mary's is the class of the conference in 2016 and it isn't a secret. They returned no starters from last year's team but led the nation in shooting percentage and offensive efficiency, as well as boasting one of the best scoring defenses in the nation. BYU started strong against the Gaels, which for BYU basically means they didn't immediately fall behind by double digits. The two teams traded leads until the Cougar defense fell apart in the final minutes allowing Saint Mary's to take a four point halftime lead into the locker room. In the second half BYU came out strong with effective shooting and real lock down defense to go on several big scoring runs. With 12 minutes remaining in the game, BYU was ahead by more than 10 and Saint Mary's was never able to recover. They held Saint Mary's to only 23% shooting in the second half and did not allow a basket in the final 3:30 of game time as the Cougars walked out with the 70-59 win.

At the start the Gaels looked very crisp, with open shot after open shot making it difficult to seize control defensively, but by the second half they just looked tired and overwhelmed. Corbin Kaufusi provided 7 points and 8 rebounds as well as a handful of blocks in 17 minutes of play, which changed the entire dynamic of when St. Mary's would try to score in the paint. Collinsworth provided 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists while Zac Seljaas returned from injury and did play, but Jakob Hartsock earned the start.

This win will do wonders for BYU's RPI as they look for a potential at-large NCAA tournament birth. They face Pacific in the Marriott Center on Saturday before heading on the road again to face USF and Santa Clara.