Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The BYU Cougars took on the Pacific Tigers Saturday in Provo, Utah, and handed their West Coast Conference rivals a crushing 84-59 defeat.
With 37.4 seconds left to play in the game and BYU leading by a considerable margin, there was no need for 6-foot-6 junior point guard Kyle Collinsworth to still be out on the floor, especially when things started to get a bit chippy between the programs. But the home crowd didn't like coach Dave Rose's decision to pull Collinsworth, and let the coach know with a showering of boos from the stands.
You see, Collinsworth had racked up 12 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists against Pacific before he was pulled - one assist away from his sixth triple- double of the season that would have tied an all-time NCAA record.
The junior point guard for the Cougars has come on strong after recording his first triple-double of the year against Hawaii on Dec. 6 (19 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists). He now has five total to this point, which sets the NCAA record for most in a single season. And on Saturday, he nearly set a new bar by adding his sixth, which would draw him even with Michael Anderson (Drexel, 1985-88) and Shaquille O'Neal (LSU, 1990-92) for the NCAA career lead in all-time triple-doubles.
Anderson was one of four players in NCAA men's history to record four triple- doubles in a single season - the old mark. Anderson, Brian Shaw (UC Santa Barbara, 1988), Jason Kidd (California (1994) and Stephane Lasme (Massachusetts, 2007) are the four whom Collinsworth passed with his fifth triple-double against Loyola Marymount several Saturdays ago.
It's an other-worldly accomplishment to notch that many triple-doubles in a season when the rest of the NCAA player field had a grand total of nine total through Feb. 14.
"Kyle has an unbelievable game that sets a record, that is absolutely amazing," Rose said. "But I hope we're not to the point where that's how he needs to play in order for us to be successful. I love that he's on it, he's doing it, but hopefully we can grow a little bit and we need to take those types of efforts and use them to continue winning."
Collinsworth has almost silently been driving his BYU program this season, which is an accomplishment in and of itself considering he's only the team's fourth-leading scorer.
That's right. Tyler Haws (22.2 ppg) ranks second in the nation in scoring for a BYU offense that checks in at first in the country (84.8 ppg) in the category. Collinsworth's 13.1 ppg average gets dwarfed by the outrageous numbers the Cougars put up on a nightly basis.
Collinsworth ranks second in the WCC this season in rebounds per game (8.6 per outing) behind Saint Mary's standout Brad Waldow, and is tied for second in the league with 5.8 assists per outing with Portland's Alec Wintering.
BYU is 20-8 on the season with a 10-5 record against league competition, and has three regular-season games remaining on the schedule (including a season finale on the road against Gonzaga) along with the conference tournament and, more than likely, some form of national postseason event. So there's still time for Collinsworth to continue to raise the bar. Don't forget, he still has an entire season left to play next year, assuming he remains on the team.
What makes this feat for the junior guard all the more impressive is the fact that, not even a year ago, Collinsworth suffered a torn ACL in the WCC title game which sidelined him for the Cougars' limited postseason run in 2013-14. He was ready to go for the start of the 2014-15 campaign, but needed time to shake off some rust. Collinsworth has played in 26 of 28 games for the Cougars this season.
Many wondered what would lie ahead in terms of a comeback for the junior. As his accolades continue to pile up, the questions have been replaced with definitive answers.
There were several opportunities for Collinsworth to pick up that 10th assist on Saturday against Pacific. Haws and Chase Fischer each missed open 3-point attempts following passes from Collinsworth that would have added to the point guard's stat line, and Corbin Kaufusi didn't finish on a fast-break try after a pass from Collinsworth.
He said it also didn't bother him when he was pulled from the game with time still remaining on the clock, since his team was up by so much. Collinsworth is optimistic that, with several games remaining on BYU's regular-season schedule and a playoff slate that is sure to follow, he'll have his chance to tie the career NCAA record with six triple-doubles this season, and add (at least) one more to his now solo single-season record.
"It's not the first time and it won't be the last," Collinsworth said after Saturday's game in regards to his record-tying opportunity.
On a team that is filled with stars, Collinsworth's name sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. He's making sure that won't be the case going forward.