RENO, Nev. – The BYU men's basketball team fell 86-70 to No. 7/9 Nevada in the 2018-19 season opener Tuesday night at Lawlor Events Center.
"I thought our guys really battled," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "It was a really physical game and I thought we executed our plan. It took us awhile to get our first basket, but once we got that we took the nine-point lead and got back in the game."
Jahshire Hardnett led the Cougars with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. Yoeli Childs recorded his 21st career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Eight other players entered the scoring column.
Nevada (1-0) took control from the tipoff, scoring eight-straight points and forcing BYU (0-1) to take a timeout with 17:49 on the clock.
After holding the Wolf Pack to a free throw, the Cougars got on the board just over five minutes into the game when Zac Seljaas hit a 3-pointer. Hardnett followed with a layup on the next position to cut into the Wolf Pack's lead, 9-5.
A Childs layup and a dunk by Gavin Baxter brought the Cougars within three, 12-9, but Nevada answered with a bucket to extend its lead. McKay Cannon responded with a long shot from beyond the arc to cut the deficit to two points, 14-12, with 11:44 left in the first half.
Two points from the charity stripe was followed by a trey by TJ Haws on a fast break to give BYU its first lead of the night, 22-20, with under nine minutes to go.
Nevada went on a 14-9 run for a six-point lead with 2:36 remaining in the first half. Four-consecutive points from the line and a layup by Kolby Lee evened the game at 34-all going into halftime.
In the first half, BYU shot 31.4 percent from the field compared to the Wolf Pack's 27 percent. Childs led the Cougars with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Childs scored the first bucket of the second half and the two teams went on to trade baskets throughout the first two minutes.
Nixon, Seljaas and Hardnett combined for nine points to give BYU a 50-47 advantage with 15:18 remaining in the game.
With 11:28 on the clock, the Wolf Pack had a 59-52 lead after going on a 10-0 run. A layup by Childs and a 3-pointer by Rylan Bergersen brought the Cougars within two, 59-57.
Nevada took control and claimed a double-digit lead at 72-61 with four and a half minutes to play and the Wolf Pack held on for the 16-point win.
On the game, BYU shot 37.7 percent from the field and 19.4 percent from beyond the arc compared to Nevada's 37.9 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively.
The Cougars will play their home opener on Friday, Nov. 9, as they host Utah Valley in the UCCU Crosstown Clash at the Marriott Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. MST and the game will be televised on BYUtv. Audio broadcasts can be heard on the BYU Sports Network, BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143/89.1 HD2) and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
- Junior guard Jahshire Hardnett tied his career high with 17 points and added 4 rebounds and 3 assists
- Yoeli Childs registered his 21st career double-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists.
- BYU made seven-straight shots to start the second half.
- BYU’s freshmen Gavin Baxter, Connor Harding and Kolby Lee combined for 11 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.
BYU guard Zac Seljaas
On tonight's game
"It was a great first game of the season. It was a big challenge playing Nevada, especially at their place. It set the tone for how we are going to fight throughout the season and how we will play every game like they are the No. 7 team in the nation. We want to play like we want to be here and set the tone to be able to fight throughout the entire year."
On the slow start
"We knew that we had a chance. We knew we were able to play and compete with them. We just had to be patient and be able to go out there and keep doing our thing and that it would turn around for us."
On the strength of the team
"We are really mature. We have a lot of confidence and maturity on this team that when it comes to games that might not be going our way we will be able to keep fighting and rallying around each other. We have that whole depth down the bench to be able to fight."
BYU head coach Dave Rose
On Jahshire Hardnett's play
"He is a guy that probably was trying to do a little bit more than he is really comfortable with as far as our numbers with shooting from the three, but he could really get past. I knew that he would have a lot of opportunities tonight. I didn't know if he could score, but I knew that he would draw the defense and that as he kicked the ball around we would get good looks and we did."
On ball security
"We had a great plan to spread the floor out and made the guys guard a lot of space and then we got them one-on-one to attack the rim. We didn't turn the ball over because they helped so much and we could find the open players. The turnovers came when we got the shot and didn't make it."