Strong second-half leads Cougars past North Texas
PROVO, Utah – Three Cougars finished with double-doubles to lead the BYU men’s basketball team past North Texas in a 97-67 win on Tuesday.
"It was a really competitive game in the first half," BYU basketball coach Dave Rose said. "Both teams really liked to push the ball and so it was fast-paced. I really think our guys did a good job in the second half taking advantage of opportunities in transition that came from the way we rebounded the basketball. It was one of our better nights of the season as far as the way we rebounded the basketball."
Eric Mika finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Nate Austin added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Matt Carlino ended the night with a career-high 10 rebounds, 11 assists, five points and three steals.
Tyler Haws passed his father, Marty Haws, to place 20th in BYU’s all-time scoring list with 23 points on the game. Kyle Collinsworth finished with a career-high 17 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Skyler Halford added a career-high 16 points off the bench with three 3-pointers.
BYU crashed the boards, outrebounding North Texas 60-38 and held the Mean Green to 35 percent shooting. The Cougars continued their up-tempo offense with 26 fast break points to North Texas’ two and dominated in the paint 58-30.
The Cougars went back and forth in the first half with Mika putting up the first BYU points one minute into the half. Carlino assisted Mika for a dunk in transition and then fed Collinsworth for a layup to go up 6-5. With 13:32 remaining in the half, a Frank Bartley IV steal led to a Haws layup to take back a one-point lead. Collinsworth got his first dunk of the game on a drive to the rim to extend the lead to 21-18 with 12:09 left on the clock.
After North Texas took a 27-25 lead, Haws responded with a 3-pointer at the 7:24 mark to put BYU up 28-27. With 4:27 left, Carlino stole the ball and sent an outlet pass to Haws to extend the lead to five. Mika recorded his first block of the game at the 4:10 mark, which was followed by a 3-pointer by Halford. With just under three minutes left, a baseline jumper from Haws gave BYU its largest lead of the half at 40-31. Mika then went for a two-hand dunk on the next possession and the Cougars ended the half up 42-35.
Haws led the team at the half with 15 points, while Mika added 11 points and six rebounds of his own. Carlino finished with five points, six rebounds and seven assists to end the half.
BYU started to pull away when Austin sparked a 7-0 run to start the second half with a three-point play and a layup to extend the lead to 47-35. A deflection by Austin led to another Mika dunk from Collinsworth to cap the run with 18:57 remaining. Carlino’s ninth assist led to a big two-handed dunk down the lane by Collinsworth to keep BYU up 53-38.
Halford’s floater started a 6-0 BYU run that included a block by Austin to lead to Bartley’s dunk in transition and a Haws layup to extend the lead to 67-51 at the 11:50 mark. With a layup with 11:50 to go, Haws passed his father, Marty Haws, to place 20th in BYU’s all-time scoring list. After going on a 7-0 run, Collinsworth recorded another dunk with the pass from Anson Winder. The Cougars outscored North Texas 55-32 in the second half for a final score of 97-67.
"I think it’s something to build on," Haws said. "We’re coming off a great win against a great team in Utah State. It was a challenge for us tonight. We got off to a slow start. Not a lot of energy in the building. It was a challenge to get going, but it was definitely something to build on. I think a lot of guys played well. We just have to continue to build on it and build our confidence. I think things are going in the right direction."
BYU will hit the road to play UMass for the Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. EST. The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.