San Diego • Prior to Saturday’s regular-season finale in the West Coast Conference, San Diego coach Bill Grier worried about stopping BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth, who burned the Toreros for 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the Cougars’ 34-point win in Provo on Jan. 4.
Turns out, foul trouble kept Collinsworth from doing the same kind of damage at Jenny Craig Pavilion, but the sophomore from Provo High still fired in the shot that arguably won the game, 78-70.
Collinsworth’s 3-pointer with 1:28 barely beat the shot clock and gave the Cougars a 70-65 lead. San Diego did not get closer than five the rest of the way.
“I am comfortable shooting threes,” Collinsworth said, later acknowledging it was the biggest shot of his BYU career. “I just don’t shoot a lot of threes. So I shot my shot, and it went in. It was a big shot for our team.”
Asked how the Toreros kept him under control this time, Collinsworth quipped, “they gave me two fouls.”
Collinsworth has now made eight of the 20 3-pointers he has taken this season.
“He didn’t have his best game up until that point, so to stay locked in mentally shows how tough he is,” Tyler Haws said.
Collinsworth finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes.
“Kyle is a big-time shooter. I don’t think Kyle gets enough credit for how good of a shooter he is,” said Nate Austin, a 63-percent free-throw shooter who went 5 of 5 from the line. “He gets most of his points around the basket, but he’s a great shooter. As soon as it left his hands, it looked good, and it went down. A huge, huge shot for us.”
In the first half, San Diego had 11 offensive rebounds, which it turned into five second-chance points. In the second half, the Toreros had just one offensive rebound, and they finished with eight second-chance points.
The Cougars won the rebounding battle 34-29 after that horrible start.
“A huge challenge at halftime was offensive rebounds, and not turning the ball over,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “We had 12 turnovers at halftime. I think we ended up with five in the second half. Those are toughness plays. Those are plays where we have to buck up and be tough, and our guys figured it out.”
The Toreros took 11 free throws in the first half and just two in the second half, finishing 10 of 13 from the stripe. … Haws scored 25 points to pass Fred Roberts for sixth place on BYU’s career scoring list. Haws now has 1,855 career points, 30 short of fifth-place Russell Larson.