SANTA CLARA, California — Freshman Nick Emery powered a potent Cougar offensive attack at the Leavey Center on Saturday afternoon as BYU cruised to a 96-62 victory over Santa Clara to sweep its first conference road trip of the season.
BYU improved to 19-8 on the year and 10-4 in the West Coast Conference with a hot-shooting 58.5 percent performance from the floor, including 46.2 percent from 3-point range. The Cougar defense held strong as well, limiting Santa Clara (9-17, 5-9 WCC) to just 31.4 percent shooting overall.
"We played really well not only offensively, but really well together as a team on both ends of the floor," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "There is no question this is the best back-to-back road trip game that we've played for the season. It's a good time to be playing well."
Emery led BYU with 31 points on the heels of his 37-point scoring night on Thursday in BYU’s win over San Francisco. His back-to-back games with 30 or more points puts him in the exclusive company of only Danny Ainge and Mekeli Wesley among Cougars to have multiple 30-point scoring nights during their freshman season. Emery is the only freshman Cougar to have back-to-back 30-point outings.
Proving he is among the top freshmen in BYU history, Emery also moved past Wesley on Saturday into fourth place on BYU’s freshman scoring list and tied Mark Bigelow with his ninth game with 20 or more points, which ranks No. 3 among BYU freshmen players all-time. Emery made 13 of 21 field goals, 3 of 8 from long range and 2 for 2 at the free throw line.
BYU had four players reach double figures in scoring with Chase Fischer adding 22, Kyle Collinsworth 15 and Kyle Davis 10. Davis led BYU with eight rebounds while Collinsworth dished out a team-high eight assists.
Fischer put in another strong effort for the Cougars, scoring 22 points on 6 of 9 shooting for his third straight game surpassing the 20-point mark. He has recorded 20 or more points in 15 games this year and 21 times over his career.
For the game, Fischer went 3 of 4 from behind the 3-point line and was 7 of 8 at the free throw line while adding six assists and five rebounds. His three 3-pointers marked his 13th game this year with three or more treys. For his career, he now has made three or more triples in 34 games, which is tied for third all-time at BYU with Bigelow and Jackson Emery.
The Cougars and Broncos battled back and forth during much of the game’s early going before BYU’s backcourt fueled a 9-0 run as part of a larger 14-2 burst to swing the momentum clearly in the Cougars favor.
After Santa Clara’s Kai Healy evened the score at 19-19 with 13:07 on the clock, Fischer scored the game’s next five points, including a trey, followed by back-to-back layups from Collinsworth and Emery to give the Cougars a 28-19 advantage at the 11:01 mark. After Healy finally got the Broncos back on the board with a pair of free throws, Collinsworth assisted Davis for a layin and converted his own bucket inside with a Fischer free throw in between as BYU took a 12-point lead at 33-21.
BYU’s guards scored 12 of the 14 points during the decisive run. Overall, the Cougars had no trouble finding the bottom of the net to open the game, making 13 of 16 attempts from the floor over the opening 12 minutes of the half for a sizzling 81.3 percent success rate.
Santa Clara momentarily slowed the onslaught, trading scoring with BYU over the next four minutes, but it was just a prelude to a continued Cougar scoring blitz that would give BYU a 19-point advantage at the half.
With BYU up 10 points at 37-27 with four minutes to go before the break, Fischer and Emery drained consecutive 3-point bombs to force a SCU timeout. BYU, however, would score eight of the game's next 10 points with Emery’s triple giving the Cougars a 22-point lead at 51-29. SCU’s Matt Hauser stopped the Broncos' bleeding with his own trey just before the halftime buzzer to give BYU a 51-32 advantage at the break.
The game’s first 20 minutes saw Emery score 18 points and Fischer add 15 on a combined 11 for 15 shooting by the pair, including 4 for 6 accuracy from long range. Overall, the Cougars shot 70.4 percent from the floor in the first half, including 5 of 7 from behind the 3-point line, while holding the Broncos to 26.7 percent shooting in the opening half. The charity stripe was the only saving grace for Santa Clara in the first half as the Broncos were a perfect 12 for 12 at the free throw line while BYU went 9 of 15 on free throws.
Santa Clara reduced BYU’s lead to 14 points during the opening minutes of the second half but that was as close as the Broncos would get the rest of the way as BYU ran away with the win, finishing with a game-high 34-point margin for the final 96-62 tally.
BYU will look to continue its road winning streak next week when the Cougars travel to face the San Diego Toreros on Thursday. The game tips at 8 p.m. PT and will be nationally televised on ESPNU.