2015-16 BYU basketball season review
In 2015-16 BYU basketball continued to meet several of its standards of success as the Cougars won 20-plus games and advanced to the postseason for the 11th-straight season under coach Dave Rose. Both streaks are program records.
BYU finished 26-11 overall, third in the West Coast Conference at 13-5 and earned an at-large bid to the National Invitational Tournament. By advancing to the NIT, BYU is one of just 10 programs in the country to make the NCAA or NIT every year since 2005-06. With the Cougars securing 26 wins, Rose has coached 11 of the 39 20-win seasons in BYU history and eight of the 12 25-win seasons. He is also one of nine coaches to have won 20-plus games every year since 2005-06. Rose’s streak of 11-straight seasons with 20-plus wins is tied for the seventh longest current streak in NCAA Division I basketball.
Senior guard Kyle Collinsworth concluded his record-setting career as BYU’s all-time leader in rebounds and assists while finishing second in steals and 11th in scoring. He averaged 15.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists (a BYU single-season record) in 2015-16 while being named the WCC Player of the Year and receiving Associated Press All-America honorable mention.
In addition to leaving his mark on the BYU record book, Collinsworth imprinted his name in the NCAA record book. Collinsworth posted six triple-doubles in 2015-16, equaling the NCAA single season record he set in 2014-15. He also owns the NCAA career record with 12 triple-doubles, outpacing the previous record of six, held by Shaquille O’Neal (LSU) and Michael Anderson (Drexel).
Guard Chase Fischer had a breakout year during his senior campaign as he averaged a team-best 18.2 points and hit 112 3s, the second-most 3-pointers in a season in BYU history. With 103 3-pointers as a junior, Fischer is the only Cougar in program history with two seasons with 100-plus 3s. A first-team All-WCC honoree, Fischer also averaged 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals. Fischer finished his career 39th all-time in scoring at BYU with 1,121 points, the most by any two-year player in team history.
The starting backcourt was rounded out by freshman sensation Nick Emery, who averaged 16.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals while starting 32 games. His 97 3-point field goals set a BYU freshman record and his 585 points and 52 steals were second-most by a first-year Cougar. At San Francisco, Emery scored a BYU freshman record 37 points and tied the school record with 10 3-pointers. Emery was named second-team All-WCC and WCC All-Freshman.
The frontcourt received a boost in 2015-16 with the availability of junior Kyle Davis, who sat out the previous season after transferring from Utah State. Davis averaged 11.9 points and 7.5 rebounds while adding a team-high 50 blocks. Senior Nate Austin and sophomore Corbin Kaufusi were also solid contributors to the frontcourt. Austin, BYU’s all-time leader in games played and second in offensive rebounds, started 12 games and averaged 2.5 points and 4.4 rebounds. Kaufusi started 23 games and averaged 5.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.
Zac Seljaas emerged as BYU’s top bench scorer as he averaged 7.6 points and 2.9 rebounds. The versatile freshman provided depth in both the backcourt and frontcourt and hit 68 3s, the second most by a BYU freshman. Seljaas shot 50.0 percent from deep, the second-best percentage in school history and a Cougar freshman record.
BYU opened the 2015-16 season with a home win over crosstown foe Utah Valley. The Cougars added wins over Adams State, Mississippi Valley State, Belmont, Weber State, Utah State and Central Michigan before heading to Hawaii for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Following a heartbreaking, double overtime loss to Harvard, BYU bounced back with convincing wins over New Mexico and Northern Iowa to round out the tournament and the nonconference schedule.
After opening West Coast Conference action with a loss at Saint Mary’s, the Cougars won four-straight, including an upset win at No. 25/21 Gonzaga. BYU became the first school in the WCC to win back-to-back games at the McCarthey Athletic Center. With an 8-4 record through 12 games, the Cougars reeled off five-straight wins to remain in contention for the WCC regular season title. BYU’s title hopes vanished on the final day of the regular season as Saint Mary’s posted a win and the Cougars feel 71-68 at home to Gonzaga to finish in third place at 13-5.
In the WCC Championships, BYU defeated Santa Clara in the quarterfinals but was eliminated by Gonzaga in a hard-fought semifinal. Following the WCC Championships, the Cougars received an at-large bid to the NIT as a No. 2 seed.
BYU opened the NIT with a convincing 97-79 home win over UAB. The Cougars followed that with two more wins at home against Virginia Tech (80-77) and Creighton (88-82) to advance to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York. Against Valparaiso in the semis, the Cougars went into the half down 14, 44-30. BYU chipped away at the deficit in the second half and led momentarily late in the game before eventually falling 72-70.