PROVO, Utah (AP)—No. 25 Brigham Young’s home winning streak was never in much danger.
The Cougars won their 36th straight at home by beating Lamar 88-66 on Wednesday night, avenging an overtime loss to the Cardinals last year.
Lee Cummard was just two assists shy of BYU’s first triple double since 1988, finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Cougars (8-2). More than anything, he was happy he didn’t foul out—something he’s done twice already this season. Two other games, he was on the edge with four fouls.
“I was more worried about not fouling than scoring points,” said Cummard, whose previous career highs were 21 points and six assists.
Cummard had 17 points at halftime and in the second half hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the final run that put away the Cardinals (3-6).
“Lee was amazing,” said Trent Plaisted, who added 22 points and seven rebounds. “He was awesome. He carried us.”
BYU was coming off a 68-61 loss to No. 9 Michigan State on Saturday in Salt Lake City. Back home about 45 miles south in Provo, the Cougars have been unbeatable for more than two years and tied No. 2 Memphis for the longest home winning streak on Wednesday.
The Cougars made 11 of 28 3-pointers and took advantage as Lamar struggled to hit shots. The Cardinals finished 24-for-63 and were 5-for-18 from beyond-the-arc as they tried to make a dent in BYU’s lead, which only kept getting bigger.
“We had some little slip-ups on defense but we probably played our best team game so far,” said Cummard, who also had no turnovers.
BYU also dominated the boards, pulling down 50 to Lamar’s 34.
“You can’t win like that,” Lamar coach Steve Roccaforte said. “Especially on the road against a Top 25 team.”
Freshman Chris Collinsworth made his first start for BYU and finished with six rebounds. Jonathan Tavernari added 11 points for BYU.
Lamar Sanders scored 11 to lead the Cardinals, who were taunted with “air-ball” chants from the Cougar fans for most of the night. It was so bad that Sanders was about a foot short on a free throw in the second half as the game was getting out of hand.
Darren Hopkins converted a three-point play to pull the Cardinals to 65-53 with 7:25 left in the game, but Cummard answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to start an 18-5 run for the Cougars.
Cummard and Plaisted combined on a couple of plays that thrilled the small crowd of 8,130. Plaisted had the ball at the baseline and bounced a backward pass to Cummard for an easy layup.
“Not too shabby, but not nearly as good as the one he had to me,” Plaisted said.
Later in the half, Cummard returned the favor by banking a pass off the backboard to Plaisted for an emphatic dunk.
BYU coach Dave Rose joked that both players were lucky the showboat play worked. He said he’d rather see them go for the easiest basket possible.
“They work really hard and those opportunities don’t come very often,” Rose said.