PRESCOTT VALLEY, Arizona – Bouncing back after a tough loss, the BYU men's basketball team defeated the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 87-52 on Wednesday for its fifth win of the season.
Junior Brock Zylstra led the Cougars with career-best 23 points on 8 of 10 shooting. Zylstra hit a career-high five threes in six tries and snagged three boards. Junior Brandon Davies nearly recorded a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, while senior Noah Hartsock added 11 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Anson Winder also dished out a career-high nine assists and had two blocks and three steals.
"We got a lot more comfortable as the game went on," head coach Dave Rose said. "We forced them to miss a lot of shots. The key is to rebound and get out and run. They only got eight offensive rebounds so we did a nice job turning those rebounds into points."
BYU forced the Lumberjacks into 24 turnovers and scored 28 points off those turnovers. The Cougars also hit 10 threes for the game after hitting just 1 of 10 from three-point range against Wisconsin. The Cougars shot 51.5 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line for the game.
"We have some new players but the core of this team knows how important it is to bounce back," Rose said. "We bounced back well and now we need to carry it over into another game on Saturday."
Northern Arizona came out fast to start the game by nailing their first two shots to take a 4-0 lead over the Cougars. BYU missed their first five field goals and started 2 of 9 overall, but responded to the Lumberjacks’ early lead with a 15-0 run that lasted until the 11:12 mark in the first half.
Zylstra hit two threes during the run and started the game by hitting his first five shots. He passes his previous career high of 11 points when he hit a lay-up to give him 12 points with 6:51 remaining in the half. Zylstra would add another three before the end of the first period to give him a game-leading 15 first half points.
BYU continued its first half dominance by ending the half on a 10-0 run to take a 44-21 halftime lead. The Cougars forced Northern Arizona into 16 first half turnovers, recorded eight steals, blocked five Lumberjack shots and held NAU to 31 percent shooting for the half.
The Cougars continued the run from the end of the first half by scoring the first six points of the second period. Charles Abouo, Hartsock and Winder each hit a bucket in the first two minutes of the half to stretch the BYU lead to 29 at 50-21.
Davies excited the crowd with a one-handed dunk at the 11:21 mark to put BYU up 62-33. Zylstra helped expand the lead to 74-43 with two consecutive three-point buckets with just under eight minutes left in the game.
In the final minutes of the game, freshman Nate Austin took over for BYU. Austin played just nine minutes but scored 11 points on 5 of 6 shooting and snagged four rebounds.
BYU will play Oregon in its next game at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday. It will be the fourth-straight game for BYU on a neutral court and will tipoff at 3 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU along with KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.