PROVO, Utah – Three Cougars scored in double digits as the BYU men’s basketball team beat Saint Martin’s 92-71 in the first exhibition game of the season, Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
“It is good to be back out there,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “It felt good, but there are a lot of things that we need to work on. I am pleased that we were able to get a lot of guys in the game, especially some of the younger guys. The four starters from last year were all solid in their play and have improved throughout the summer.”
Yoeli Childs led all scorers with 20 points after going 7 of 10 in the paint and posting eight rebounds. TJ Haws and Dalton Nixon added 11 points apiece, while Haws also recorded seven assists and four rebounds. Many new faces saw time on the court, including freshmen Gavin Baxter and Connor Harding as they tallied nine and seven points, respectively.
As a team, BYU outshot the Saints 58 percent to 44 percent from the field, as well as scoring 54 points in the paint compared to Saint Martin’s 16. The Cougars played 12 different players and scored an impressive 44 points off the bench.
The Cougars got on the board first as Luke Worthington made the first basket of the game to put BYU up 2-0. Zac Seljaas followed with a basket of his own from behind the arc, putting the Cougars up 5-0.
BYU put up 12 unanswered points to take an early 17-3 lead in the first half. Saint Martin’s sunk a jumper and a 3-pointer, cutting into the Cougars’ lead. However, BYU quickly gained control and went on a 10-point run, increasing its lead to 27-8 with 7:18 remaining in the half.
Back-to-back buckets from Childs gave the Cougars their first 20-point lead of the game, which he followed with two more jumpers pushing the BYU lead to 35-17. The Cougars entered halftime on top by 24 points, 45-21, with Childs leading all players with 13 points.
To open the second half, the Saints and BYU went back and forth before Saint Martin’s went on a 10-2 run, bringing the score to 52-37 and cutting the Cougars lead to 15 points. The Cougars quickly regained their momentum and went on a seven-point run with Nixon recording six of the seven points.
BYU maintained their double-digit lead throughout the second half. Two free-throws and a trey brought the Saints within 20 points, but the lead was too much as the Cougars took the win 92-71.
BYU takes on Westminster in their second exhibition game on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. MDT at the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on BYUtv with radio coverage on BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM, BYU Sports Network and KSL (1160 AM/102.7 FM). Live stats will be available on the BYU men’s schedule page.
Coach Dave Rose
“It’s good to be back out there. I think our guys felt good and there are a lot of things that we need to work on and improve on.”
“I’m pleased about two things. I’m pleased with the fact that we were able to get a lot of guys in the game. You never know how these are going to go because you always want to win them, so the fact that a lot of the newer, younger guys got to play a lot of minutes is a good thing. And then I thought the four starters from last year actually were all really solid in their play. I think they’ve all improved, they’ve all had a great summer and I know they all want to play more, but I think that the opportunity to be able to have an exhibition game and have everybody get a chance to have that feel up was really good.”
“It was probably pretty much what you would expect, and it’ll be this way for the next few weeks. A lot of fouls are being called, guys need to get used to some of the new emphasis that the referees are going to put on the game. And the referees need to ref a little bit more so they get the feel for it. It’s not like the players are the only ones that need to get out there and get back in the groove and grind.”
“The coaches saw a lot of good things tonight. It’s good to be able to see how we work against another team. Offensively and defensively, I think we came out really well in the first half. The coaches were saying that the slow start in the second half is something we need to focus on because that second-half start is just as important as the first. I think the coaches are pleased on the good things that we did and it was a good opportunity to see where we’re at now and what we need to improve on.”
They shot the ball really well. The first 10 minutes of the first half, they struggled to make shots, but we knew that they were a good 3-point shooting team. Under the circumstances of having a lead, we started to get more relaxed in closing out to the 3-point line. That’s something we need to tighten up as a group especially as we move forward.”
“We’ve been practicing the whole summer against each other and it was good to finally get out there and play against another team. We got to see how we played together as a team. We have to make sure in the second half of a game that we come out with just as much intensity as the start. Overall, we did well tonight. “
“I think in the game I can bring energy. The group I was in with during the second half picked it up and blew it open there at the end. That’s something I can help with.”
“Honestly it was pretty nerve wracking at the beginning but as the game went on, I loosened up and got into the flow of things. It was good to finally be out there though.”