PROVO, Utah (AP)—No. 12 BYU overcame a post-rivalry letdown and still won by 20.
The Cougars had to play through plenty of their own mistakes and capitalize on TCU’s struggles in a 76-56 victory Tuesday night.
“You have to be consistent enough to win all types of games,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “This team has proven that it can get up for really big games and this was a game where we had to guard against not being ready to play.”
BYU’s shot 39 percent, almost 11 percent below its season average, but the Cougars were able to pull out to a large lead and stop the few runs the Horned Frogs made.
Jimmer Fredette scored 26 points and Jackson Emery had 12 points and six assists for the Cougars (22-2, 7-1 Mountain West), who have won 17 of 18. Noah Hartsock added 14 points and Chris Miles pulled down 11 rebounds for BYU.
After Saturday’s frenzied win over in-state rival Utah, there was little drama in the Marriott Center on Tuesday. The arena was barely half-full and noticeably more quiet.
BYU took a 10-0 lead early and closed the game on a 17-6 run. Everything in between was a little sloppy, which the Cougars acknowledged.
“You have to win games that are played like this. That’s just a fact,” Rose said. “Some games you’re going to get that thing going and everybody’s going to be firing shots up and all of them are going to be going in and the other team is going to come right back at you. This game was different.”
Greg Hill and Garlon Green led TCU (10-13, 2-6) with 11 points apiece. Ronnie Moss finished with 10 points and seven assists for the Frogs, who are 0-10 against BYU in Mountain West regular season and tournament games.
The Frogs finished 21 of 60 from the field and made just 3 of 16 3-pointers. They also hurt themselves with several layups that bounced off the rim and into the hands of the Cougars, who outrebounded TCU 45-36.
“We played unselfish ball, but we missed some big plays and easy baskets,” TCU coach Jim Christian said. “BYU is such a great team and to beat them on the road you really need to make those easy baskets.”
The Cougars held a double-digit lead for most of the game. It slipped to nine twice in the second half, but BYU answered both times with small runs to quickly regain control.
“Our team is just very good at getting baskets and getting that lead back up for some reason. We do it quietly, kind of,” Fredette said. “That kind of gets the game back up and you don’t really notice it, and then all of a sudden it’s a 12-14 point game and then we continue to move up.”
BYU held TCU scoreless for the first 4:21 and opened the game with a 15-4 run, including three 3-pointers by Emery. But the Cougars’ shooting went cold and BYU finished just 24 of 62 from the field and TCU managed to keep it relatively close.
The Horned Frogs scored five straight points to open the second half and get within 35-26, but the Cougars answered with a 10-2 run. Fredette’s 3-pointer with about 13:30 left gave BYU a 45-28 lead and the Frogs didn’t help themselves inside, continuing to have layups bounce off the rim.
TCU opened the second half missing 10 of 12 shots from the field.
Hill’s 3-pointer with about 7:45 left cut BYU’s lead to 59-49 and the Frogs got within nine again, but Fredette stopped the run with another 3-pointer to put BYU up 62-50 and start a 12-4 run that clinched it.