HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois – Seniors Charles Abouo and Noah Hartsock led the BYU men’s basketball team to a 76-55 victory over the Nevada Wolfpack on Friday to move on to the Chicago Invitational Challenge championship game.
"That’s a good win," head coach Dave Rose said. "Trying to get your first win out of your building every year is always a real challenge so I am really proud of our guys.”
Abouo led the Cougars with 22 points and eight rebounds while tying his career high with four three-pointers. He shooting 8 of 12 from the field, including 4 of 5 from three, and did not miss a shot in the second half. Hartsock tied his career high with 21 points and hit 9 of his 12 shots in the game.
"I thought Noah did a great job calling for the ball and making some big shots for us," Rose said. "All you need is a basket every once in a while to give you some confidence and keep attacking."
Junior Brandon Davies scored 10 points to make it three Cougars in double figures. The win is the fourth consecutive 20-point win for BYU since losing the season opening game at Utah State and pushes its record to 4-1.
Rose started his third different lineup in five games this season and the team got off to a rousing start. BYU jumped out to a 24-6 lead in the first 8:31 of the game largely due to 17 points off 13 first half Nevada turnovers.
The lead faded progressively as the first half went on as Nevada switched to a zone defense and slowed down the BYU offense. BYU managed just 10 points during the final 11:29 of the half and went into the locker room up 34-27.
Hartsock led BYU with 11 first half points, while first time starter Anson Winder, Abouo and Davies each added six first half points. The Cougars went into the locker room with no points from the bench.
The teams exchanged baskets to start the second half as the BYU lead stayed in single digits. Abouo helped BYU extend the lead back to double digits with two 3s in a two-minute span, the second coming with just over 10 minutes remaining and making the score 55-43.
Junior Stephen Rogers scored the first bench points for BYU on a fast break layup with 9:30 remaining to put BYU up 57-43. Nevada countered and brought the game back within single digits before the Cougars put the game away with a 21-7 run.
Niether Abouo nor Hartsock missed a shot in the second half, going 6 of 6 and 4 of 4 from the field, respectively.
BYU will play in the championship of the Chicago Invitational Challenge Saturday at 7 p.m. CST against the winner of the Bradley vs. Wisconsin game that will take place Friday night.
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