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Bounce-back victory over Chaminade speaks volumes about BYU's toughness

The Cougars had every excuse not to come to play on Tuesday, but the entire team showed up in a big way — and that should tell us a lot about this squad.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Bouncing back is underrated.

Sure, it would be great if a team could win every game they play every time out, but that's not a particularly realistic expectation. You're going to lose sometimes, and perhaps in painful, heartbreaking ways. It's how a team responds to those moments of disappointment and frustration that defines who they are — and who they can become.

BYU faced and met that challenge here in Maui on Tuesday, bouncing back from a soul-crushing double-overtime loss to San Diego State the previous evening to turn in an historic performance and a 121-85 victory over Chaminade just 14 hours later. There was plenty of reason for concern heading into the game — the short turnaround and the likelihood of a physical and emotional letdown, to start — but BYU started fast and never looked back.

The main story will undoubtedly be about Chase Fischer — and the praise isn't undeserved. Fischer was a force of nature, connecting on nine 3-point baskets for 27 points in the first half alone. He ultimately finished with 10 made triples, eclipsing Jimmer Fredette to set a new school record for threes made in a single game while also tying the Maui Invitational tournament record in the process. It was a massive individual performance by Chase that was crucial to the Cougars' success and highly deserving of all the accolades its likely to receive.

But as great as he was, this game wasn't just about Chase Fischer. If it was, BYU would have fallen apart in the second half once Fischer cooled off a bit. But they didn't — and that's because this was, at its heart, a team win.

While Fischer was busy grabbing all the headlines, several of his teammates were also turning great performances under the radar. Anson Winder did an excellent job of getting into the lane and attacking the basket, finishing with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting. His slashing presence may have opened up even more shooting lanes for Fischer and others.

"I think it just adds another dimension to our team if we can get to the basket and get the bigs in foul trouble and just kind of bring a different mindset to our offense," Winder said. "We were hitting on all cylinders so it helped to get to the rim and hit open shots, so it worked in our favor tonight."

The game wasn't without its challenges. Tyler Haws, the team's offensive rock, picked up two quick fouls early in the first half, sending him to the bench for the duration of the period. But to Haws' credit, he didn't let the long layoff — more than an hour of real time with no activity — hold him down. The prospective All-American came in cooking after halftime, hitting his first five shots and finishing with 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting in 16 minutes. That's what we call efficiency.

And it wasn't just the big scorers who got in on the act and sealed the win for BYU — Kyle Collinsworth rebounded and distributed with aplomb; Nate Austin hustled like a crazed madman, making plays all over the floor; Isaac Neilson and Corbin Kaufusi had a positive impact around the rim; Dalton Nixon made his presence felt on both ends; and Frank Bartley and Jake Toolson owned the closing minutes with their crisp passing and sweet-looking outside stroke, respectively.

I could go on, but there's no need. The long and short of it? Everyone came to play — all 15 guys that Rose inserted into the game brought something positive to the equation. Whether it was energy or hustle or rebounds or (occasionally) defense or 10 three-pointers, everyone had a hand in this one.

"Well, first of all, I think that I couldn't be more pleased or really impressed with our guys today," Rose said. "With a quick turnaround, you just kind of wonder what you're going to get from your guys. I was just really impressed with how focused they were, how dialed in they were. We were really good offensively and got better as the game went on defensively. But I've been through some pretty tough turnarounds with a lot of teams, and this one was maybe as impressive as I've seen."

And that's really the key here. The individual performances are nice and the records are great and all of that is wonderful. But at the end of the day, BYU won this game (and did so impressively) because they showed up when it would have been really easily not to. They would have had every excuse to eek out a close win over a bad opponent on no rest and just survive until Wednesday. But they didn't do that.

Everyone came to play. Everyone contributed. Everyone bounced back. Together. And despite the barrage of long-balls raining all over the island, that's perhaps the most impressive thing of all.