By John Manuszak
Athletic Media Relations
PROVO, Utah – Jonathan Tavernari scored a game-high 21 points and BYU used an 18-2 run early in the game to build a 27-point lead before halftime, as the Cougars rolled to a 94-60 win over visiting Colorado State on Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
The Rams (8-16, 3-7 MWC), who opened the second half of the conference season with a win over TCU at home on Saturday, could not contain the Cougars (18-5, 6-3 MWC), who shot 72 percent (21-29) from the floor in the first half to build a 51-27 lead at halftime. BYU would lead by as many as 23 points throughout the rest of the game and finished the contest shooting .649 (37-57) – good for the second-highest opponent field goal percentage in a game in CSU history.
“We just couldn’t get BYU under control tonight,” said Head Coach Tim Miles. “They got out early and just ran away from us. Until we can impose some defensive will on BYU, this will continue to happen. We just have to grow and develop from this one.”
Colorado State hung around in the opening 6 minutes of the game and trailed by only one (15-14) thanks to a Willis Gardner jumper at the 13:58 mark of the first half. But that would be the only Rams field goal for the next 7 minutes as BYU scored 18 of the next 20 points to take a 17-point lead at the 7:21 mark of the first half.
The Rams were led by Marcus Walker, who scored a team-high 19 points on 8-20 shooting, including three three-point field goals. Walker, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 20 at Denver, was joined in double figures by Gardner, who finished with 13 points and three rebounds.
Tavernari, who scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half and added 11 rebounds, was joined in double figures by James Anderson (16), Jimmer Fredette (15), Lee Cummard (14) and Charles Abouo (11).
The Rams will remain on the road until they take on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (18-6, 6-4 MWC) on Saturday night in Las Vegas. CSU knocked off UNLV, 71-69, back on Jan. 14 in Fort Collins and will look to sweep the season series from the Runnin’ Rebels for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
“In order to play well at UNLV we are going to have to have a much better, more intense effort,” said Miles. “There is a way to win every game, but defensively we will have to play a whole lot better.”