SALT LAKE CITY – The BYU men’s basketball team, led by senior Brandon Davies’ double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, defeated the Montana Grizzlies, 85-60 at the EnergySolutions Arena Wednesday night.
Davies also tied his career high with six assists and notched a season high with four steals. Sophomore Tyler Haws scored 18 points and dished out three assists while Josh Sharp chipped in a career-high 13 points and eight rebounds, including five offensive boards, in the win.
The Cougars improve to 5-2 on the season and 11-4 when playing at EnergySolutions Arena.
"I thought we played well," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "I was really pleased with the start of the game. Defensively we got out to a great start and challenged every shot. Offensively, we had open shots, we hit them and got off to a nice lead."
The game began with Haws hitting a fadeaway jumper to put BYU up 2-0. The Cougars never lost that lead through the full 40 minutes.
With 16:45 left in the first half, Davies fed the ball to a cutting Sharp for a quick layup to put the Cougars on top, 11-2. BYU increased its lead to 14-2 on a three by Craig Cusick before the Grizzlies scored again.
The Cougars went up by doubles digits again on a Haws 3-pointer at 28-17 with just under 10 minutes to play. The next points came from junior Raul Delgado as he hit a three, then a double-teamed Davies found Sharp again for an easy two to put BYU ahead, 33-19.
With 4:22 remaining in the half, Davies hit a short hook to put the Cougars up by 11 at 38-27. The two teams traded baskets for the last four minutes and ended the half with BYU ahead 42-31.
Through the first half, the Cougars shot 62.5 percent (15 of 24) from the field, including 60 percent (6 of 10) from beyond the arc. Davies led the team with 10 points and five assists and Haws added nine more points on 3 of 4 shooting from the field and 2 of 2 from the charity stripe.
BYU took advantage of its six first-half steals by scoring 20 points off turnovers.
Four minutes into the second half, BYU added to its double-digit lead. Davies blocked a fast-break layup then ran the length of the floor to score on a left-handed hook shot to put the Cougars up 48-34.
Montana continued to chip away, coming within eight at the 14:16 mark. But a 3-pointer from senior guard Craig Cusick, a bucket from Davies and free throws from sophomore Matt Carlino and Haws provided a 9-2 run midway through the second period. The run gave the Cougars a 15-point lead, 60-45.
Haws missed a 3-pointer on a fast break with about six minutes remaining but Davies was there to tip-in the miss. The senior forward then stole the ball, grabbed an offensive rebound, got fouled and made two free throws to give BYU a 71-52 advantage.
"This was a great team win," Davies said. "Both halves, we played solid, and the second half we came out and played even stronger. I thought we shared the ball pretty well. Everyone was finishing plays and playing on the attack. When we play like that, we are hard to beat."
Two possessions later, Cusick faked a shot to free up Zylstra for a 3-pointer in the corner for the first 20-point BYU margin, 75-54.
The Cougars ended the game on a 14-6 run to seal the victory. The BYU defense held Montana to just 29 percent shooting from the field in the second half.
BYU will travel to play Iowa State on Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. CST. The game will be aired on KSL Newsradio 102.7FM/1160 AM.