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Los Angeles • Kyle Collinsworth did it again on Thursday night posting his NCAA-record 10th career triple-double but the story of how BYU came from behind to defeat LMU 91-80 is more about teamwork than anything else.
Overcoming a 15-point first half deficit, the Cougars took their fifth West Coast Conference win at Gersten Pavilion with five players scoring in double figures. More impressively, the Cougars assisted on 28 of their 32 field goals after getting 10 assists total in Saturday's loss at Portland.
The assist-ratio "says everything about what we worked on this week," BYU coach Dave Rose said.
Nick Emery led the Cougars with 24 points and Chase Fischer added 20 as BYU improved to 14-6 overall, 5-2 in WCC play. The Lions fell to 9-10 and 2-6 and had their two-game winning streak snapped.
The win "showed a lot of character for our guys," Rose said. "This was a really important game for us."
Collinsworth finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists, a career high for assists. He got the triple-double with a free throw with 3:07 remaining.
"The thing is, we stayed in it, we kept positive, and we kept fighting," Collinsworth said.
He became BYU's all-time leader in assists in the game, passing Matt Montague, who had 570. Collinsworth has 579. By design, he did not take a shot until less than a minute remained in the first half, looking to get his teammates involved.
"When Kyle gets going on assists, he plays better mentally," Emery said.
Trailing by 10 at halftime, the Cougars played their best basketball early in the second half and took a 65-61 lead on Kyle Davis' putback with 11:55 left. Davis had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
It helped when LMU's Adom Jacko went to the bench with his fourth foul and 21 points with 14:11 left. Jacko finished with a game-high 26 points.
BYU tightened its defense midway through the second half and led by as many as five points several times, but LMU crept back each time, and took a 79-78 lead on Steven Haney's 3-pointer with 5:11 left. The Cougars put the game away with an 11-0 run after Haney's 3.
In the second half, "we had a little more energy because we knew what was on the line," Emery said.
Shooting the lights out in the first half, the Lions took a 50-40 lead at the break after leading by 15, 46-31 at one juncture thanks to a 20-0 run.
"I think it is amazing, how well they shot in the first half," Emery said, noting that he can't remember an opponent ever shooting like that in one half before.
However, the Lions shot 22 percent (2 of 9) from 3-point range in the second half.
"That first half was pretty impressive," Rose said. "They hit every shot. Literally, they hit every shot."
If not for nine first-half turnovers committed by LMU, the lead would have been larger. The Lions were 9-for-11 from 3-point range at one point in the half, BYU 5 of 17 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
The worm turned quickly in the second half, as Rose started Zac Seljaas instead of Nate Austin and he and Emery drained four 3-pointers in the first four minutes.
"I definitely think we started the second half with a lot more urgency," Rose said. "…You give up 50 points at halftime, you are going to have to really score to win the game."
The Cougars did that, outscoring the home team 50-30 in the final 20 minutes.
Rose's message at halftime was to not panic, think about the momentum the Cougars earned in the final few minutes of the first half, and go from there.
"We got ourselves grouped together and we weren't going to let that [hot LMU shooting] happen in the second half," Emery said.
R The Cougars overcome a 15-point deficit in the first half to win.
• Nick Emery scores 24 points, Chase Fischer adds 20 for BYU.
• Kyle Collinsworth posts 10th career triple-double with 15 assists, 13 rebounds and 10 points.