Balanced BYU offense overwhelms Montana Tech 98-63
PROVO, Utah – Four players reached double figures in scoring as BYU defeated Montana Tech 98-63 at the Marriott Center on Saturday.
"I’m proud of our guys," BYU head coach Mark Pope said. "We’ve talked about the ball being sticky and it certainly was not sticky today. We’re bordering on overpassing, which is such a tribute to these young men. Adam Hiatt is a great coach and it was really fun to have him back. He had a great run at Westminster and he’s doing a great job with this team. I’m excited to move forward from here and see what we can do."
Ten different players scored against the Orediggers with Jake Toolson leading the way with a game-high 17 points. TJ Haws made all four of his 3-point attempts as he contributed 15 points and led the team with six assists. Zac Seljaas and Kolby Lee both scored in the double-digits with 14 and 11 points, respectively. The Cougars shot an exceptional 68.6 percent from the field – sixth all-time in a single game in BYU history – and 52.2 percent from behind the arc.
Dalton Nixon opened the game drawing a foul on a layup and making his free throw to convert the three-point play. After a 3-pointer from Montana Tech (4-3) tied the game, Haws knocked down a trey of his own to give BYU (6-3) a 6-3 lead. Toolson, Lee and Haws each scored baskets in the paint the following three possessions to increase the Cougars' lead to 12-3 with 16 minutes left in the half.
The Orediggers hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to three points before Toolson scored a layup and two shots from behind the arc to extend the Cougars’ lead to 20-11. BYU scored seven of its next nine points from the free throw line to take a 29-16 lead with 9:20 remaining in the first period.
Haws scored 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to spark a 10-0 run for BYU to make the score 41-21 with 5:18 on the clock. Nixon scored six points in the closing minutes of the period to help send the Cougars into the halftime break up 51-35.
Three BYU players reached double figures in scoring by the half. Toolson led the way with 12 points while Lee and Haws each contributed 11 apiece. The Cougars shot an incredible 73.9 percent from the field in the first period while also making more than half of their 3-pointers and going 12 of 14 from the free throw line.
Haws didn’t waste time building on his impressive first half as he knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing while being fouled. The senior guard made his free throw to complete the rare four-point play. Alex Barcello scored a 3-point jumper and a layup as BYU and Montana Tech traded baskets making the score 62-43 five minutes into the second period.
Seljaas knocked down two treys and a pair of baskets to score 10 points to help increase the Cougars’ lead to 75-51. Following a layup from Connor Harding that gave BYU a 26-point advantage, Pope pulled the remaining BYU starters on the court with eight minutes remaining in the game.
Seljaas remained a force on the offensive end of the court using a fake pass in the post to distract the defender for an easy layup. Trevin Knell scored nine points as five different Cougars scored to close out the game as the BYU reserves outscored the Orediggers 19-12 to clinch the 98-63 victory.
The Cougars will next travel to play in-state rival Utah on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. MST at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network while radio broadcasts will be available on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.