Cougars Runnin' Past Rebels
In a game that saw four different Cougars score in double figures, including a season-high 26 points from Trent Whiting, BYU enjoyed its biggest win ever over the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 91-63, in a late Monday night nationally televised game at the Marriott Center.
Hot shooting combined with tough defense helped the Cougars to the win over last year's Mountain West Conference Champions. BYU shot over 50 percent from behind the three-point line for the second game in a row, going 6 for 11. BYU also shot 56 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line.
On defense, the Cougars held UNLV's top scorer, Kaspars Kambala, to two points, more than 16 below his season average. Dalron Johnson had 24 points for the Rebels and Sylvester Dotson added 12.
"It was the best basketball we've played here in four years against a quality team," said BYU coach Steve Cleveland. "Tonight, Las Vegas did not play well, but I'd like to think we had a lot to do with that. We defended and executed well and I really like the flow in the last seven games. Our defense was the best since we've been here."
In addition to Whiting's 26, Terrell Lyday scored 23, including 3 for 3 from three-point land and a couple of thrilling dunks. Mekeli Wesley and Eric Nielsen were the other Cougars in double figures, scoring 14 and 12, respectively.
"Trent's play tonight was phenomenal," said Cleveland. "But everybody stepped up and it brought us a lot of confidence. We had the energy tonight and we also had the luxury of playing at home. We also had the luxury of having a great crowd, that was really important."
BYU set the tone early, starting the game on a 10-0 run, before the Runnin' Rebels came back and scored five in a row. But, that was as close as UNLV would get as the Cougars came back and to score 45 first-half points and go up by 19 points at the break.
With the win, BYU evens the series at five games each. Next up for BYU is a Saturday night match-up with Colorado State in Fort Collins.