PROVO, Utah – Behind double-figure scoring from four players, BYU beat Westminster 72-43 in the second and final exhibition game for the Cougars Thursday at the Marriott Center.
"One of my main objectives heading into exhibition games is to make sure we play like how we practice," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "Every year it surprises me that we can get out here and look nothing like ourselves, that’s how it was in the first half. We were in a hurry and taking open shots, but they weren’t good shots. I got the guys in at halftime, settled them down and was really pleased how we played within ourselves (in the second half)."
Yoeli Childs led the way with 14 points and 14 rebounds. TJ Haws (11), Jahshire Hardnett (10) and Dalton Nixon (10) also got to 10 points for BYU. Gavin Baxter contributed eight points, four rebounds and three blocks.
BYU jumped out to a 7-0 lead through the game's first three minutes. The Cougar defense stalled over the next several minutes, but the defense remained stingy on the other end for a 13-5 advantage halfway through the first half.
Gavin Baxter and McKay Cannon came off the bench to make a quick impact. Baxter had two quick buckets and Cannon stole a pass and broke away for a layup to make it 20-7 for BYU with just under eight minutes left in the half.
Childs connected on his second-straight 3-point attempt with 3:08 on the clock. His second triple got him to 10 points and gave the Cougars a 30-11 lead.
Childs' double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds led BYU to a 35-18 lead at the break. Twelve BYU players saw time in the first half. Baxter had six points on 3-of-3 shooting. Kolby Lee drained his only attempt – a 3-pointer – after not appearing in the exhibition against Saint Martin's on Oct. 25.
Five minutes into the second half, Childs connected with Baxter who was cutting along the baseline. He threw down a two-handed dunk to put the Cougars up 47-25.
With 12:30 on the clock, Hardnett hit his second 3 of the half to become the second player in double figures with 10 points. BYU led 52-28.
Connor Harding knocked down a 3 from the wing to put the Cougars up 59-32 with 8:50 on the clock. He became the 10th BYU player to score, with 12 appearing in the game.
Nixon gave the Cougars their first 30-point lead (65-35) of the game with a lay-in with 6:33 on the clock. Nixon played an efficient 10 minutes, with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting and four rebounds.
With the exhibition slate complete, the Cougars play their first regular season game Tuesday, Nov. 6 at No. 7 Nevada. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network 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 basketball schedule page.
Coach Dave Rose
“There are a lot of things you can learn from playing other people. Part of the reason we play is to get the scorer’s table back together and get the equipment right. In all seriousness, there is something different every year with your guys when you turn the light on and put people in the seats.”
“One of my main objectives heading into exhibition games is to make sure we play like how we practice. Every year is surprises me that we can get out here and look nothing like ourselves, that’s how it was in the first half. We were in a hurry and taking open shots, but they weren’t good shots. I got the guys in at halftime, settled them down and was really pleased how we played within ourselves.”
“Thank goodness for Kolby and Yoeli. They were the only two guys to hit a three in the first half. It doesn’t look like anything you’d think, a big kid coming in and stretching the floor like Kolby does. In today’s game, it allows us to play a big guy who can defend and spread the floor to drive and kick.”
Thought on starting the season against Nevada
“This is obviously a quadrant one game on the road and it’s a great opportunity for us. Our objective is to win the game, but we’ll learn a lot about ourselves and where we are. They’re a big, athletic team that has a lot of experience. We’re going to really rely on our returning guys, but it will be interesting to see the new guys or guys that didn’t play much last year in this type of atmosphere.”
"We didn't really play like ourselves (in the first half). Offensively we were hunting shots a little bit, and that’s something we haven't done in the past two games. So, we were a little disappointed in that. But overall, at the end of the game coach is very positive about how we played and I think we made adjustments in the second half and did a good job sharing the ball making extra plays, and we guarded a lot longer this game."
"We've definitely gone up and down a lot and practice, just getting in better game shape. I think we were a lot better tonight. Obviously we can get even better and we're going to get in better shape as the season goes on. And I think that's a process every team goes through they get in better, better shape through the first couple games, but I think we definitely improved."
"I think the biggest thing is to be ourselves. It is to play how we play. There's a lot of great teams we’re going to play on our schedule. We open up with a really great team. But the focus is on us. We're not going to focus on the other teams. We’re focused on what we can control, what we do, and playing the right way."
On starting at No. 7/9 Nevada
"Can’t ask for anything better. It's an unbelievable opportunity. We go out and we do what we think we can do and we go out and we get a win and that changes everything; everybody looks at you different and it gives your team a lot of confidence. So, I think it's exciting and we're all really happy that we're able to have the opportunity.
"I've definitely got a great group of guys. As soon as I hit my first shot, I just felt the love from my guys. That atmosphere is unreal, you know you dream as a little kid and to step out on the floor and play against someone else besides your teammates every day, you know it’s a pretty good feeling."
"It's been a roller coaster for sure. I actually didn't know if I was going to play tonight, but we have good trainers. Rob definitely took care of me, got me rested. Then it felt really good on Monday and I started to work back into my first full practice yesterday and got to go tonight."