ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – Led by a double-double from sophomore Yoeli Childs, BYU men’s basketball earned a hard-fought 79-73 charity exhibition win against New Mexico Friday night in Dreamstyle Arena. All proceeds from the exhibition will go to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to aid in the recovery from flooding in Houston and the surrounding area.
Yoeli Childs posted 17 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks while TJ Haws (14 points), Elijah Bryant (13) and Luke Worthington (12) also scored in double figures. Haws added a game-high six assists to go with seven rebounds while Bryant grabbed eight boards.
Jahshire Hardnett and Dalton Nixon provided a needed spark off the bench combining for 17 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Hardnett had nine points, three assists and two steals while Nixon totaled eight points and two rebounds.
As a team, the Cougars out-shot New Mexico 51.9 percent to 37.1 percent. BYU also won the rebound battle, 48-33.
After leading 37-36 at the break, the second half started with Haws hitting a 3-pointer on the first possession. The Cougars jumped out to a 44-38 lead after layups by Worthington and Childs but the advantage was short-lived as New Mexico countered with a 7-0 run for its first lead since the 9:19 mark in the first half. It was the first of seven lead changes in a second half that also featured 10 ties.
Neither team led by more than three until the Cougars went on a 6-0 run for a 71-67 lead with 3:24 to go. The rally started with Hardnett stealing the ball and feeding Nixon for a layup. Nixon scored on the next possession off an offensive rebound and less than 20 seconds later, Hardnett stole the ball again and scored to give the Cougars the four-point advantage.
Childs hit a jumper for a 73-68 lead with 2:12 remaining, BYU’s biggest advantage since 44-38 at the 16:46 mark of the second half. The cushion nearly evaporated as the Lobos scored inside on the next two possessions while holding BYU scoreless, pulling within one, 73-72, with 1:06 to go.
The Cougars regained control and were clutch in the final minute, hitting 6 of 7 from the free throw line while holding New Mexico to a single point for the 79-73 victory.
BYU struck first just over a minute into the game on a tip-in by Childs off a missed 3-point attempt by Nick Emery. Worthington took advantage of Childs’ third offensive rebound with a layup to give the Cougars a 4-0 lead in the first 2:30 of the game.
New Mexico later went on an 8-0 run to lead 10-6 while the Cougars struggled through a four-minute scoring drought. Jahshire Hardnett came off the bench and drove to the basket for two, ending the dry spell.
Despite a Cougar hot streak that included five-straight made field goals, BYU was only able to take a two-point lead, 18-16. With the game tied at 18-all, Hardnett and Worthington each hit a pair of free throws to put the Cougars back in front. Haws and Bryant extended the run to 10-0 for BYU’s first double-digit lead with back-to-back 3-pointers.
New Mexico quickly answered the challenge with a 10-1 run to pull within a point at 29-28. Childs helped the Cougars regain a five-point lead with buckets on back-to-back possessions but the Lobos closed the period with an 6-2 run that included a pair of 3s to trim BYU’s halftime lead back to one, 37-36.
Childs paced the Cougars with a near-double-double effort in the first half with seven points and nine rebounds. Hardnett and Worthington had six points apiece while Bryant posted five points and seven rebounds. Zac Seljaas also contributed a first-half high four assists.
After starting the game 3 of 12 from the field, BYU hit 10 of its next 14 attempts from the field to shoot 50.0 percent from the field in the first half.
BYU plays its second exhibition of the preseason on Wednesday, Nov. 1, against Westminster at 7 p.m. MT in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on BYUtv broadcast on the BYU Sports Network, BYU Radio - Sirius XM 143 and KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.