Brandon Davies got another chance to play in an NBA arena on Wednesday night, and this time the professional basketball hopeful stayed out of foul trouble long enough to show that he might have a future in this game beyond his BYU career.
The Cougars senior scored 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded six assists, but perhaps the most astonishing number he posted in an easy 85-60 win over Montana in front of 12,378 fans at EnergySolutions Arena was zero.
The big guy did not commit a single foul after foul trouble limited him the last two times BYU played in an NBA arena, at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
Davies said it was "a long time ago" and "it has been a while" since he played a game foul-free. Along with staying on the floor for 33 minutes, he recorded four steals and had just one turnover. The only mildly disappointing aspect to his game Wednesday was a 9-for-17 performance from the free-throw line, prompting a mock cheer from the partisan crowd when he made a freebie after missing his first five.
"He had five assists and no turnovers at halftime," BYU coach Dave Rose marveled. "If it wasn't for him struggling at the line, I think he would have had one of his best games ever."
It was the Cougars' sixth straight win at the home of the Utah Jazz, and BYU is now 8-2 in the building since 2003. That dominance here will surely be tested in a month, when the ACC's Virginia Tech visits on Dec. 29.
"This place has been good to us," Rose acknowledged.
It was not good for visiting Montana (3-2), which saw three of its players foul out, including leading scorer Mathias Ward. He picked up his fourth foul in the first half, and was never a factor, finally leaving the court for good with 8 minutes, 24 seconds remaining, having played just 19 minutes and scoring just seven points.
"It was just us playing on attack," said Davies. "It wasn't just me, it was the other bigs coming in and the [power forwards], too. We are not going to be stopped when all the bigs are playing as well as we did tonight."
With the Cougars (5-2) cruising to their third straight win in the second half, the spotlight turned to sophomore returned missionary Tyler Haws and his quest to score 20 points or more for the seventh straight game. The only Cougar to have done so was Devin Durrant in 1983-84, but Haws was taken out of the game with 18 points and 5:32 remaining on the clock. He didn't return.
"I think I came up short, but that's all right," he said after going 6 for 12 from the field. "… I was just trying to be aggressive. I think I [missed] a 3-pointer and missed a jumper [a few minutes before leaving the game]. But it is all good."
And things are once again good for the Cougars, who have seemingly righted themselves after being swept in New York by Florida State and Notre Dame on back-to-back nights. With the exception of forward Nate Austin, who logged just two minutes because of nagging injuries, Rose said, the Cougars got above-average performances from every player who stepped on the court.
Josh Sharp added a career-high 13 points while regaining his starting spot, and the Cougars were 9 for 21 on their 3-point attempts. Juco transfers Raul Delgado and Agustin Ambrosino combined to go 3 for 4 from 3-point range.
"We had a couple guys come off the bench and hit 3s," Rose said. "I think those are possessions that can really sting another team. ...The confidence of those guys coming together can really help us."
The Cougars will need that, considering they travel to Ames on Saturday to take on the Big 12's Iowa State.
"We will be ready," Rose said.
BYU 85, Montana 60
R BYU gets its sixth straight win while playing at EnergySolutions Arena, defeating Montana in front of 12,378 fans.
• Brandon Davies posts a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and also has six assists and no fouls.
• Tyler Haws scores 18 points, failing to reach 20 or more points for the first time in seven games.
BYU 85, Montana 60
MONTANA (3-2) • Henderson 0-2 0-0 0, DeShields 3-8 5-5 12, Jamar 6-11 4-6 17, Ward 3-8 1-2 7, Martin 0-2 6-6 6, Gregory 3-7 0-0 8, Wiley 0-1 0-0 0, Emerson 0-0 0-0 0, Coleman 1-5 0-2 3, Weisner 3-5 0-0 7. Totals 19-49 16-21 60.
BYU (5-2) • Davies 6-13 9-17 21, Cusick 2-6 0-0 6, Haws 6-12 5-6 18, Sharp 6-8 1-2 13, Zylstra 3-6 0-0 8, Delgado 2-3 0-0 5, Ambrosino 2-2 0-0 6, Carlino 2-4 1-2 6, Winder 0-1 0-0 0, Calvert 0-0 0-0 0, Austin 0-0 0-0 0, Harward 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 30-58 16-27 85.
Halftime • BYU 42-31. 3-Point Goals • Montana 6-16 (Gregory 2-4, DeShields 1-1, Jamar 1-2, Weisner 1-2, Coleman 1-3, Henderson 0-1, Ward 0-3), BYU 9-21 (Ambrosino 2-2, Cusick 2-5, Zylstra 2-5, Carlino 1-1, Delgado 1-2, Haws 1-4, Davies 0-1, Winder 0-1). Fouled Out • Coleman, Martin, Ward. Rebounds • Montana 30 (Jamar 9), BYU 35 (Davies 10). Assists • Montana 8 (Gregory 3), BYU 18 (Davies 6). Total Fouls • Montana 22, BYU 17. A • 12,378.