Chase Fischer lit it up from long range early, Tyler Haws quietly got his (18 points) and Kyle Collinsworth put things to rest by tying an NCAA career record. Typical day for the somehow still on the bubble BYU Cougars.
After how the Pilots took Saint Mary's guards out of the game in the quarterfinals there was reason to believe they had a shot against the Cougars' guard laden attack. Early in the game things weren't looking too bad for an upset. The Cougars and Pilots played a one possession game for the first five or so minutes, during which time both teams shot well.
Then, Chase Fischer (24 points) squashed any hope the Pilots may have had with an eruption from long range.
The junior guard went for 20 points on six of eight shooting in the first half — he did not attempt a field goal inside the three point arc. While impressive it's not exactly a surprise. Fischer knocked down a BYU single-game record 10 three pointers against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational back on November 25.
Fischer's second three, at the 13:33 mark, gave BYU its first multi-possession lead of the game, 14-10. That was the start of a 12 point outburst in less than two minutes that saw Fischer drain two more and Tyler Haws add one of his own.
It wasn't a 12-0 run, however, as Bryce Pressley and Kevin Bailey both knocked down jumpers, so the Cougars led by just nine points.
Moments later the sharpshooting duo of Fischer and Haws went on another three point spree, this time knocking down three in a row. BYU led by 18 with six minutes to play in the half.
Orchestrating the offense was Kyle Collinsworth, who pulled down eight rebounds in the first half to go along with eight assists. The Pilots managed only eight assists over the whole 40 minutes.
In the second half the Cougars showed off their inside game.
Freshman forward Corbin Kaufusi (3.2 ppg) has come into his own here in Vegas. After a seven point, seven rebound performance in the quarterfinals he went for six rebounds and a career high nine points. Kaufusi tied a career high with six rebounds in the regular season finale against Gonzaga and topped it with seven in Saturday's quarterfinal against Santa Clara.
The Cougars did not have much of a post presence this season, but Kaufusi's recent strides come at the perfect time.
After the frontcourt put the result out of question the game then transformed into a quest to beat the clock. The high speed Cougars beat the clock with 6:45 to spare.
At the same basket under which he lay clutching his knee almost exactly one year ago — it hasn't even been a year since he tore his ACL — Kyle Collinsworth recorded his tenth and eleventh points of the game at the free throw line. That gave him a triple double. His sixth of the season, tying him for first in NCAA history with Shaq and Michael Anderson.
BYU advances to Monday's WCC championship game and will face Gonzaga at 6 p.m. on ESPN.