BYU’s two-game losing streak in the West Coast Conference tournament is over.
Kyle Collinsworth turned in a monster performance with career highs in points (23) and rebounds (16) and the Cougars held off Loyola Marymount 85-74 in front of a partisan BYU crowd of 7,688 at Orleans Arena.
It was BYU’s fifth-straight win and ninth in its last 10 outings.
Up next for BYU is San Francisco on Monday; The Dons beat San Diego 69-60 in the first quarterfinal.
The story of Saturday’s game was Collinsworth, who had his first double-double since Jan. 23, that triple-overtime loss at Portland.
Really, all the Cougars played fairly well. Except for going 0 for 12 from the 3-point line, the Cougars did what they had to do against an LMU team full of confidence after a win over Portland in the first round.
It was the first time in 577 games that BYU has failed to make a 3-pointer in a game. Last time the Cougars failed to do it was Nov. 22, 1996, against Cal State Fullerton.
It was Collinsworth’s sixth double-double, and earned the praise of teammate Tyler Haws.
"He was huge," Haws said. "Right out of the gates he was aggressive, and it seemed like he was crashing the boards right away on the offensive end. He got a few easy buckets, and was just knocking down shots. We kinda fed off his energy the entire game."
Haws passed a few more milestones, as he always seems to do, but was a tad off with his shooting. He was 9 of 22 from the field, 0 of 5 from 3-point range.
Still, he passed Michael Smith for seventh place for most points in a season at BYU, and now has 700 this year.
Haws and Jimmer Fredette are the only BYU players to have scored more than 700 points in two seasons.
It was the 48th 20-point game of Haws’ career, 19th this season.
His streak of double-figure scoring is up to 48 games.
Anson Winder got the start again, and BYU remained unbeaten with Winder as a starter (six games). Playing in the town he grew up in, Winder set a school record with six steals in a conference tournament game. That’s a career high, too.
Also, Winder went 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. He bounced back from the 1 of 4 performance against San Diego.
"I think what has really been a change is just the attitude of our group," BYU coach Dave Rose said of Winder’s defense. "Anson’s defensive presence has really helped us in specific areas. We put him in to start on certain guys, starting with [Kevin] Pangos and Johnny Dee and Stephen Holt and Sharp from Portland. That was kind of the reason for us to make that change, but he has been so good for us offensively, too.
Anson is playing his best basketball for us right now. It is at a good time, and he has had a positive effect on our team."
There were times this season when the Cougars were getting nothing from their bench, but that wasn’t the case Saturday. The BYU bench outscored the injury riddled SCU bench 19-3, with Matt Carlino getting 11 points and Eric Mika seven to go with four rebounds in 24 minutes.
"It was a hard-fought game," Rose said. "They do a lot of things that cause us problems, but our guys were able to play through it.
I think we were consistently energized the whole game. I think we played with really good energy throughout the game.
They got a nice run against us, and we got a little stagnant in our zone, but for the most part, I think our guys were extremely focused and dialed in. I am really happy for the win, and both these guys did a great job, Tyler and Kyle, leading us to the win."
More comments from Rose, Haws and Collinsworth:
Rose on getting the team ready for LMU, and what was the key:
"I thought that we came out with a good game plan, but our guys were really aggressive. They were aggressive on the offensive boards. Anson Winder was really aggressive defensively. He ends up with six steals in the game. That was a huge lift for us, playing defense and being on attack, and getting us baskets in transition.
Then, Kyle had three or four putbacks in the first 10 minutes of the game for scores, and that aggressiveness carried over into the whole team. So that was a big part of our game plan, and trying to control those two guards.
[Anthony] Ireland and [Evan] Payne are a handful, and defensively we did just enough."
Rose on giving a hand to Ireland when he went out:
"Well, he is just a terrific player. I think that the seven games that we have played, he is the kind of guy that is a handful … As a staff, we really respect his game. … He is a guy who I think has a real future in the game. It has been a pleasure to watch him, except for the times we have played against him. He is one of the WCC’s best players ever."
Haws on not making a 3-pointer but still winning the game:
"Well, I thought we were able to get out in transition a little bit, get some easy buckets, and I was really proud of the way we battled offensively on the glass. We rebounded the ball really well, and got second-chance points. I think that helped make up for not making any threes."
Haws on Winder’s defense being contagious:
"Yeah, for sure. We always talk about having active hands, getting our hands on balls. Anson came out and did that. Six steals is awesome. We definitely fed off that energy and a lot of his steals and his active hands led to good stuff in transition on the offensive end."
Collinsworth on why he was successful vs. LMU:
"I just stayed aggressive from the start. That was a big part of our game plan, to come out and be the aggressors. I have experience in big games and tournaments, and that’s why I wanted to come out and be aggressive and get my teammates involved."
Collinsworth on LMU going to zone and how BYU handled it:
"We were ready for them to play that zone. The key was just getting it to the high post and once we did that, all sorts of things opened for us, getting in gaps and that."
Collinsworth on what coach Max Good said to him after the game:
"He just told me he was really proud of how I played. He said I have a bright future, and a future in the NBA. He was excited about my future in basketball. He said I was a great player, so I appreciate that. I look up to him — he’s a great guy. I talk to him every time we play, and I respect him as a person and a coach."
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