2017-18 Season Review


2017-18 Season Review

BYU men’s basketball finished the 2017-18 season with a record of 24-11 overall and 11-7 in the West Coast Conference. The Cougars advanced to the title of the WCC Championships and earned an at-large bid to the National Invitational Tournament.

Under the direction of head coach Dave Rose, BYU has now won 20-plus games and advanced to the postseason – NCAA tournament or NIT – in each of the last 13 seasons. Both streaks are program records. Rose has now coached 13 of the 41 20-win seasons in program history and his streak of 13-straight 20-win seasons is the fifth-longest current streak among NCAA Division I coaches.

Rose is also seventh among active NCAA Division I coaches in winning percentage at 72.9 percent, which is first all-time in school history. His 329 wins are second all-time in BYU history behind the late Stan Watts, a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.

Several Cougars earned honors during the season, headlined by Elijah Bryant and Yoeli Childs earning spots on the All-WCC First Team. Bryant and Childs also received recognition from the NABC as both were named to the District 9 First Team. Childs also earned a spot on the USBWA All-District VIII Team and received all-tournament honors from the WCC and the Barclays Center Classic.

TJ Haws also earned All-WCC recognition as he earned honorable mention. Haws was also named to the WCC All-Academic Team while Luke Worthington earned WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention.

Bryant led the Cougars in scoring at 18.2 points per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the floor, 41.5 percent from 3-point range and 85.0 percent from the free-throw line. He added 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game and made a team-best 85 3-point field goals. Childs was second in scoring (17.8) and first in rebounding (8.6) while adding a team-best 1.8 blocks per game. The sophomore forward totaled 15 double-doubles. Both players started 34 games.

Haws started all 35 games and was third in scoring (11.7), first in assists (4.2) and second in steals (1.3). Jahshire Hardnett and Luke Worthington rounded out the starting five for much of the season as they started 32 and 29 games, respectively. Hardnett, a transfer from Chipola College, posted 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds while Worthington, who returned prior to the season following a two-year LDS mission to Chile, averaged 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds. Dalton Nixon and Zac Seljaas also returned from missions prior to the season and were the team’s top bench performers. Nixon averaged 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds while Seljaas contributed 5.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

The season opened with three wins in the first four games, including traveling across the country for a victory at Princeton. Following a loss to Alabama in the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, the Cougars reeled off nine-straight victories, including a sweep of in-state competition. The streak started with comeback win against UMass in the second game of the Barclays Center Classic. BYU trailed 61-51 with 4:44 to go before rallying to claim a 68-66 victory on a last-second dunk by Childs off a Hardnett assist. It was the latest in a game the Cougars have trailed by double figures and comeback to win in the Rose era.

Against in-state teams, the Cougars won at Utah Valley and Utah State, defeated Weber State in the inaugural Beehive Classic at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake and earned a home victory against Utah. Bryant scored 29 in the Utah win, BYU’s first triumph against the Utes since 2012.

In league play BYU went 7-2 at home and 4-5 on the road. Conference play featured back-to-back overtime wins against San Francisco and at Pepperdine. Despite trailing by six points with 39 second to go against San Francisco, the Cougars used a three-point play by Hardnett and a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Bryant to send the game in to overtime. 

In the WCC Championships, BYU opened with a hard-fought 85-79 win against San Diego with Bryant’s 27 points leading the way. In the semifinals, Childs scored a career-best 33 points to lead the Cougars to a convincing 85-72 win against No. 22 Saint Mary’s.

After falling to Gonzaga in the championship game, BYU received a bid to the NIT as a No. 6 seed. The Cougars’ comeback bid fell short and their season ended in an 86-83 first round loss at Stanford.