Kolby Lee Scores Career-High 21 Points As BYU Gets Revenge Against San Diego
PROVO, Utah – With BYU big man Yoeli Childs out with a dislocated finger injury, sophomore Kolby Lee has stepped into a big role once again. On Thursday night, Lee delivered the best performance of his BYU career by scoring a career-high 21 points in the Cougars 93-70 win over San Diego.
What made Lee’s career-high for points even more impressive was that he knocked down all eight of his field goal attempts. Throughout the night, the BYU student section was chanting Lee’s first name and also reigning down chants of M-V-P! M-V-P!
“Honestly, aside from the fans cheering, it felt like another normal game to me,” said Lee. “My teammates just hit me, they believe in me, and I’m able to make shots.”
Like the fans, BYU head coach Mark Pope was in a celebratory mode for his sophomore big man. Pope entered the postgame press conference chanting, “Kolby! Kolby! Kolby! How ’bout that? You didn’t think that was going to happen, did you? 5,000 BYU students chanting Kolby!”
But in all seriousness, Pope has been a huge advocate of Lee’s abilities before anyone else could see in it. Back in the summer, Pope was praising Lee as one of the best players from the team’s pre-season trip in Italy. Thursday night was just a highlight of what Lee is capable of doing for Pope’s squad.
“It’s really fun to watch these guys kind of grow in all kinds of way, and Kolby was super fun tonight because he’s growing before our eyes,” said Pope. “He’s been spectacular. He’s done such a spectacular job staying in his lane and not getting bored and being able to do what he does. I’m proud of the guys, it was a great effort.”
The game wasn’t all perfect for BYU. In the first half, BYU (14-5, 3-1 WCC) found themselves down 28-25 at the under-eight media timeout as USD (7-13, 0-5 WCC) was shooting 67 percent from three-point range.
Then BYU turned it on a moment’s notice reeling off a 28-8 run to put the game out of reach against the winless Toreros who handed the Cougars a humiliating loss last season in the West Coast Conference tournament to end the Dave Rose era.
“That was embarrassing last year for myself and the team and for everyone. That was kind of our prep talk, it was like, you remember what they did to us last year and so hopefully we can put it on them every time we play those guys,” said BYU forward Connor Harding.
Kolby Lee has a lot of nicknames. Some guys call him “Big Idaho,” “Big Country,” but others refer to him as “Quickie Monster.” Why Quickie Monster? The push shots that Lee has mastered in the paint that some refer to as floaters are called “quickies” by BYU assistant coach Chris Burgess. Lee is a monster at the quickie shot, so he is known by some teammates as “The Quickie Monster.”
Stats of the Night
120 – TJ Haws started in the 120th consecutive game of his BYU career. He’s now second all-time for most consecutive starts in BYU basketball history.
50% – BYU knocked down 11 of its 22 three-point attempts on Thursday night.
8: BYU had eight steals in the win. Entering the game the Cougars were ranked in the bottom 50 nationally in total steals per game.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.