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Honolulu • In the land where palm trees sway, BYU guard Chase Fischer does as well.
Wednesday, the mercurial senior swayed in the right direction after Tuesday's nightmarish outing. Fischer produced a record-setting shooting performance similar to last year's Day 2 run at the Maui Invitational and led the Cougars to a 96-66 rout of New Mexico in a Diamond Head Classic consolation game at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"Yeah, it feels good. I don't know why, though, just because I am tired, I don't feel very well. But I yeah, I found a good rhythm tonight. It was fun. It was a good team win as well," Fischer said.
After going 0 of 5 from the field in Tuesday's 85-82 overtime loss to Harvard, Fischer made a tournament-record nine 3-pointers against the Lobos (7-5) and now owns 3-pointer records at both major Hawaii tournaments, having made a BYU-record 10 treys 13 months ago against Chaminade in Maui.
More impressively, given the competition, Fischer broke the tournament record with 41 points, with three minutes, 49 seconds remaining on his ninth 3-pointer.
"Well, he likes the second day in Hawaii," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "If he was a junior instead of a senior, we would have to flip the second day with the first. Because he is way better the second day."
Garbage time having arrived early against a New Mexico team that used to give BYU fits when they were league mates on the MWC and WAC, Fischer broke into a huge grin after the bomb, which was only his 14th attempt.
"Yeah, I wanted to get 40 [points] in a college game," Fischer said. "That's always been a goal of mine. It was cool. My teammates really found me. Kyle Collinsworth and Nick [Emery] really found me, especially on that last one. It felt good to get 40."
For the Cougars (8-4), it felt good to win, after failing miserably in the closing seconds of regulation and overtime against Harvard. Emery added 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting (5-for-10 from 3-point range), Collinsworth and Kyle Davis added 10 points each and Jamal Aytes had nine points and six rebounds off the bench.
The Cougars made a tournament-record 16 3-pointers and held UNM to five 3s after giving up 11 3-pointers to Harvard on Tuesday.
"Things change pretty quickly, especially in these tournaments," Rose said. "That was obviously a great individual performance by Chase, being able to knock down those shots. But I thought the effort of our entire team, all our guys, the effort and resolve to just play better, to just execute better and be quicker to the ball, was impressive. It was a really big win for us."
Ironically, the Cougars entered the game determined to get the ball inside to Davis, who had 23 points and 16 rebounds against the Crimson. To accomplish that, Rose started Nate Austin instead of Corbin Kaufusi because Austin can play power forward and that allowed Davis to play center, the only position Kaufusi knows.
Davis scored six points in the first six minutes as the Cougars broke out to an 18-6 lead and never trailed. New Mexico's Anthony Mathis and Elijah Brown made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get the Lobos within 42-38, but BYU closed the half strong with buckets by Aytes and Fischer to take an eight-point lead at the break.
"We are an inside-out team," Rose said. "That's when we are at our best, when we get it inside, get it back out. Chase hitting his first shot is just big for him, his demeanor and his attitude [are better]. And then he hits the next one and we kind of fed off it."
Fischer and Emery hit 3-pointers the first two minutes of the second half to push BYU's lead past 10 again, and New Mexico got no closer. The Lobos shot a reasonable 45.8 percent, but committed 17 turnovers that the fast-breaking Cougars turned into 19 points.
"That's a good win for us, a good win for our players, against a team that was really difficult for us to beat when we were in the league together," Rose said. "They've had a great run the last few years, so hopefully our guys will get some confidence from this win."
After playing his best all-around game as a Cougar, Aytes said coaches stressed unity and staying together after the bitter loss to Harvard.
"I knew it was my time to go, man," he said, ice wrapped around his still-tender ankle, sprained against Utah six games ago. "Coaches told us we needed to come out stronger, in the first half especially, and just stay energized the whole game. That's what I tried to bring."
There was a scary moment late in the game when Emery collided with a New Mexico player and fell hard to the floor. He got up favoring his left elbow and shoulder; Rose did not have an update after the game, but didn't believe the injury was serious.
R Senior guard Chase Fischer sets tournament records for most 3-pointers (9) and most points (41) in a single game as the Cougars rout old Mountain West Conference foe New Mexico 99-66.
• The Cougars also break the Diamond Head Classic record for 3-pointers with 16.