The first round of the NIT tournament could not have happened any better-or seemingly any faster-as Kyle Collinsworth led the Cougars past Alabama-Birmingham 97-79 with his 12th career triple-double. The first half for the Cougars seemed to have everything rolling. They built a 21-point lead in an exciting style with a couple thunderous dunks mixed in with the usual barrage of three-pointers from the backcourt.
For the first part of the second half, UAB really went on a run. They shot over 60 percent while senior guard Robert Brown going on a tear as he scored 27 of his 29 points in the second half. UAB was able to pull withing 6 points and even had the ball and then BYU found a way to turn on their transition offense. A couple bad misses and bad turnovers lead to fast break points, meaning a couple layups mixed between multiple three-pointers by a few different players. The Cougars responded to the UAB run by pushing their lead back to the 21 point halftime lead.
After that huge run, the Cougars locked down defensively and started to use the clock instead of pushing the pace. UAB seemed to run out of gas despite the huge second half from Brown, as was mentioned he finished with 29 points. Kyle Collinsworth had 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 12 assists. His backcourt mates of Chase Fischer and Nick Emery were on fire with 27 and 22 points.
BYU takes on Virginia Tech on Friday, March 18th, in the second round of the NIT.