PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball shot 56 percent from the field and totaled 23 assists, putting together its first 100-point game since 2016, to beat Rice 105-78 Wednesday in the Marriott Center, as part of the Men Against Breast Cancer Cougar Cup.
"I thought that was a really good challenge for our guys and we responded really well," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "We hung tight with the shooters. We were really sharing the ball early and played at a good pace."
Yoeli Childs led the way with 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists in just 32 minutes. Jahshire Hardnett scored a career-high 20 points and TJ Haws added 18 points to round out the scoring leaders for BYU. Haws also tied his career high in assists with eight in the game.
BYU turned defense into offense in the early going with a 9-5 lead off of two steals and four turnovers in the first five minutes. A quick 5-0 run by the Owls gave Rice its first lead, 10-9, less than a minute later, but Hardnett hit the Cougars’ first three of the game to take the lead back, 12-10, on the following possession.
The Owls hit eight of their first 11 shots to keep it tight, and took their largest lead, 19-16, with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. Childs hit a 3-pointer to spark a BYU run, however, and the Cougars were back to a four-point lead, 23-19, midway through the period. Childs reached double digits with 11 points just seconds later. The Cougars extended their lead to five, 30-25, off a 3-pointer from McKay Cannon with eight minutes to go, then Connor Harding knocked down the Cougars’ fourth three in just seven attempts to push the lead to 33-25.
The Cougars went up by 11, 46-35, for their first double-digit lead of the game on a 3-pointer and fast-break assist from Hardnett to Haws with 3:10 remaining. The backcourt duo then hit back-to-back threes to put them both in double-figures, 13 for Hardnett and 12 for Haws, and give BYU control of the game, 52-38, with under two minutes to go in the first half.
The Cougars shot 60 percent from the field in the first half to jump out to a 54-43 advantage at the break. The offense was firing on all cylinders, with 13 assists, seven threes and three Cougars in double figures. Childs led the way with 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting while adding five rebounds, three assists and a block. Haws added five assists to his 12 points, and he and Hardnett both had a steal in the first half.
The Owls closed the gap to eight points, 58-50, five minutes into the second half to force a BYU timeout from Rose. Zac Seljaas helped spur another run by the Cougars with a block on one end a deep 3-pointer on the other, his first of the game, to put BYU up by double digits again, 63-52, with 13 minutes left in the game.
An and-one layup from Hardnett put the Cougars up by 16, their largest lead of the game, with a score of 68-52 with 11 minutes to go. A layup by Rylan Bergersen then put the Cougars up by 20 midway through the second period. Childs made a jumper and a dunk through contact on consecutive possessions to get up to 23 points on the night, giving him his third 20-point performance of the season.
BYU took a 30-point lead, 91-61, off a lay-in from Gavin Baxter with just over five minutes remaining. Hardnett hit 20 points for a new BYU career-high on a pair of free throws with 3:30 remaining. The Cougars reached 100 points for the first time since their game against UVU on Nov. 26, 2016, off a free throw from Bergersen with two minutes to go.
BYU concludes the Men Against Breast Cancer Cougar Cup in its next contest against Houston Saturday, Nov. 24, at 4 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.