STARKVILLE, Miss. – The BYU men's basketball team fell 103-81 to No. 19/17 Mississippi State on Saturday in Humphrey Coliseum.
"I feel like there were times where we competed really well," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "We executed our stuff and actually took advantage of some of the things that they do. There were a lot of times when I really felt like we got discouraged and didn’t compete at the level or with the urgency that we need to, especially if we are going to pull off a win like this in this kind of environment."
Yoeli Childs led the team with 25 points, two rebounds, one assist and one block. TJ Haws followed with 14 points, six rebounds, three steals, three assists and one block. Zac Seljaas also contributed 14 points while grabbing five rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Mississippi State took an early 7-6 lead before Childs hit a trey and a jumper in the paint and was followed by a 3-pointer by Connor Harding for a 14-10 advantage and 16:38 on the clock.
A 7-3 run by the Bulldogs returned the lead to Mississippi State, 19-17, with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half.
With the score even at 23-all, the Bulldogs went on a 13-0 run to take a 36-23 lead. A bucket by Childs ended the scoring drought but Mississippi State continued to score eventually taking a 44-29 lead with five minutes to go in the half.
The Cougars continued to fight and went into the locker room down 48-38 at halftime. The Bulldogs shot 50.0 percent from the field while BYU recorded 48.3 percent. Childs led all scorers with 17 points.
Childs and Luke Worthington combined for six points and Haws added a bucket of his own to kick off the second half and cut the deficit to single digits, 54-46. However, Mississippi State took an 18-point advantage, 71-53, with 11:44 remaining in the game.
The Bulldogs continued to increase their lead, holding a 29 point lead at the 7:24 mark after a pair of free throws.
The Cougars were unable to slow down the Mississippi State offense or string together a run of their own, ultimately falling 103-81.
On the game, the Bulldogs shot 54.3 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from beyond the arc and 90.9 percent from the charity stripe. BYU recorded 43.3 percent from the field, 25.0 percent from the 3-point arc and 82.8 percent from the free throw line.
The Cougars continue on the road as they open up West Coast Conference action at Pacific on Thursday, Jan. 3, at 8 p.m. PST. The game will be available to watch on ESPNU and audio broadcasts can be heard on BYU Sports Network, BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM) and KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.
- Yoeli Childs scored 25 points on 11 of 18 shooting. It marks his ninth 20-point game of the season and 24th of his career.
- TJ Haws totaled 14 points in his 84th-consecutive start. It was his sixth-straight game scoring in double figures.
- Luke Worthington tied his career high with six rebounds while scoring eight points.
- Zac Seljaas hit 3 of 5 from the field and a career-best 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. It was his fifth double-figure scoring game of the season.
BYU guard Rylan Bergersen
On MSU’s team
They were big, physical and athletic. They did good on the boards and made open shots. They were what we were expecting.
On the game plan and execution in the beginning
We told ourselves that if we came out in the first four minutes and played aggressive, didn’t back down and did what we knew we could do then the game could maybe go our way and it would be a close game. We did well in the first couple minutes.
On ranked opponents
Today’s team is pretty good, and they are right up there with Nevada. We played really well against Nevada and played them close all the way until the end. I think Mississippi State might be a tougher matchup, but those two teams are the best we have played, and Houston is really good too.
On preparation for the WCC
It has been a tough schedule and I think it has definitely made us better for the regular season. It has prepared us a lot. We are going to be ready to go on the road and make sure that we improve on the road.
BYU head coach Dave Rose
On today’s game
They’ve got a lot of weapons and diversity. They can score inside and outside. They’ve got good size. I feel like there were times where we competed really well and executed our stuff and actually took advantage of some of the things that they do. There were a lot of times when I really felt like we got discouraged and didn’t compete at the level or with the urgency that we need to, especially if we are going to pull off a win like this in this kind of environment. Hopefully we can learn from that. We can’t determine the energy and the effort we are going to give based on if things are going well or not. The guys need to be there all the time and hopefully that is something we can learn from this game.
On diversity of MSU
We are really getting to just rely on Yoeli and TJ as our scorers. We really need guys to be able to respond and that’s what Mississippi State did. They had great balance all the way across the roster.
On how this game came about
We were looking for a quadrant one game. Those are hard to find. When it came down to it, the game wasn’t going to get returned but we took the game. A lot of it was because I could get Jahshire here and his mom could see him play in person. I knew it would be a real challenge. I didn’t think that the result would be like this, but I felt like Jahshire competed really well.
On WCC action beginning
I think that going into league play, we’ve always felt like if we could have a successful league season then we would probably get a chance to get into the NCAA tournament. The bottom line is that we have to respond. Every team is going into practice and looking at how they can win a conference championship. We go on the road on Thursday and hope to really turn this thing around and get going in the right direction.