No. 23 BYU 86, MVSU 36
The 23rd-ranked BYU Cougars weren't happy with their latest blowout victory.
Another slow start has them a bit concerned, especially as they begin an eight-game stretch away from home.
''When we go on the road, we can't have slow starts,'' said BYU guard Jackson Emery after the Cougars' 86-36 victory Tuesday night over winless Mississippi Valley State in the second game of the South Padre Island Invitational. ''Teams are playing their best basketball on their home court, so I am a little concerned.''
BYU (4-0) and Mississippi Valley State (0-4) were a combined 4 of 20 with 13 turnovers to start the game, and the Cougars led just 6-5 and 12-7 before Jimmer Fredette hit a 3-pointer to get BYU rolling. He'd finish with 16 points, but made just 7 of 16 shots and 2 of 8 3 pointers.
Emery (15 points) would hit three straight 3-pointers and Nick Martineau added a fourth as BYU increased its lead to 31-7. From the 12:32 mark to the end of the first half, Mississippi Valley State was outscored 31-3. BYU opened the second half with an 18-2 run and now has won by an average of 33 points.
''I thought defensively it was about as good a performance as we've had in a long time,'' said BYU coach Dave Rose, whose team held a 57-40 advantage on the boards. ''I thought we were consistently challenging shots to make it difficult for them and when they drove, I thought our posts were very active. On their attack penetration, we made it really hard for them to get a good look at the basket.''
The Delta Devils shot just 12 percent (3 of 25) in the first half and 25 percent (15 of 60) overall.
Mississippi Valley State's 10 first-half points matched a BYU record for fewest ever in a half. Air Force also scored 10 points against BYU during the 2002-2003 season.
The Cougars did it with starting forward Chris Collinsworth on the bench for all but the first six minutes. He suffered a sprained ankle early and did not return. He will be re-evaluated again Wednesday to see his status for Friday's road game at South Florida.
Brandon Davies and James Anderson would provide the help BYU needed from its big men off the bench, while Noah Hartsock had another solid effort since regaining his starting spot after the opener.
Davies posted his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Anderson scored three points, had four rebounds, a block and drew a charge in five minutes of play in the first half. He finished with nine points and five rebounds.
Hartsock added 12 points and six rebounds, while Charles Abouo had a career-high 10 rebounds, five points and a steal.
Jason Holmes led Mississippi Valley with 15 points and six rebounds.
''Offensively we played well in spurts, but we can't turn the ball over six, seven times in the first eight minutes,'' Rose said. ''We did a better job (in the second half). All in all I'm pleased and looking foward to our next game.''
Emery admitted Rose had some choice words for the team during an early time out.
''He obviously wasn't happy, but more than anything he wasn't happy with the sloppy play. He knew we were playing hard but turnovers in transition and easy plays not being made are what he was most frustrated with.''
Despite what the score might suggest, Emery said the Cougars haven't clicked yet offensively.
The schedule only gets tougher, with a Big East opponent up next.
''Defensively you can be really, really good, but you've got to finish plays,'' Rose said. ''I've really been impressed with our ability to rebound. This team has shown what it's capable. But we'll probably have a real tough test against South Florida.''