Cougars top Pacific 90-87 in WCC opener


BYU vs. Pacific Box Score

STOCKTON, Calif. – The BYU men's basketball team topped Pacific 90-87 in the West Coast Conference opener at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Thursday night. 

"It was a hard matchup for us because of personnel," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "Pulling off the win is one that I will remember. It was a team win which makes it feel so much better because there are a lot of guys that are going to walk out with a little bit of a hop to their step and a little more confident in their ability to play and to help."

TJ Haws led the offense with 24 points and six assists while hitting 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Jahshire Hardnett came off the bench and tallied 17 points and one rebound. Yoeli Childs contributed a double-double after scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Childs added two assists and one block. Luke Worthington went 3 of 3 from the field for a total of eight points.

Childs scored the first bucket of the night, draining a 3-pointer and Haws added a jumper to give the Cougars an early 5-0 lead one minute into the game.

McKay Cannon hit two treys to aid BYU's comfortable lead, 13-4, with 15:34 on the clock in the first half.

The Cougars continued to shoot lights out, recording 91 percent from the field on 10 of 11 shooting and five of six from the 3-point line to give BYU a 26-10 advantage with just under 12 minutes to go.

With nine minutes on the clock, the Tigers brought the game back to single digits, 28-19. Back-to-back buckets from beyond the arc by Hardnett and Nick Emery extended the lead to 18 points, 41-23, and 5:28 remaining until halftime.

A trey by Zac Seljaas and a dunk by Dalton Nixon gave the Cougars their largest lead of the night, 46-25. Pacific brought the game within 12 points, 49-37, as the two teams went into the locker rooms for halftime. 

In the first half, BYU shot 60 percent from the field compared to the Tigers' 39.3 percent. Haws led all scorers with 14 points while Childs added nine and grabbed five rebounds.

The second half began with a bucket by Pacific as the Tigers brought the game within eight. Seven straight points by Worthington kept the Cougars on top 63-51 with 14 minutes remaining in the game.

Pacific went on a 13-4 run to even the game at 67-all and 7:40 on the clock. The two teams exchanged baskets over the following possessions but the Tigers never took the lead until 3:12 was left on the clock and Pacific went one for two from the charity stripe.

With 2:44 remaining, Haws answered with a deep three from the top of the key to give the lead back to BYU, 81-79.

Hardnett gave the Cougars an 86-84 lead after hitting both free throws with 47 seconds on the clock, forcing the Tigers to call a timeout.

Emery converted two points at the line to give BYU a 90-87 lead with 13 seconds on the clock and the Cougars played strong defense to keep Pacific from scoring at the buzzer.

On the game, BYU shot 51.9 percent from the field, 44 percent from three and 63.9 percent from the line. The Tigers recorded 53.8 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and 81 percent from the charity stripe.

BYU continues WCC action on the road at Saint Mary's on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. PST. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 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.

Postgame Notes

  • TJ Haws scored 24 points, his sixth 20-point game of the season and 15th of his career. He also his four 3-pointers, his seventh game this season with three-plus 3s and 31st of his career.
  • Jahshire Hardnett came off the bench for the first time this season and scored 17 points while hitting a career-best 8 of 9 from the free-throw line.
  • Yoeli Childs posted his ninth double-double of the season and 29th of his career with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
  • BYU opened the game 10 of 11 from the field to lead 26-10.

Postgame Quotes

BYU forward Luke Worthington

On tonight’s game

A lot of resilience from our side. Conference is always tough because we know this team and they know us. Bottom line is you can execute but it’s going to be a dog fight to the very end. I’m just proud of the way we competed. Coach was telling us in the locker room that we were the only team in the conference that got a win on the road tonight. It’s just exciting to get this one and head into Saint Mary’s with a win under our belt already.

On the energy from the tipoff

There was a ton of energy from everyone. We said that we needed to make sure we had more energy than these guys. That is one thing that we can completely control. You can’t always control the way the ball falls or the calls or any of that stuff, but you can control your energy and I think we did a great job in the beginning. Overall, I liked our energy tonight.

On the team’s resiliency

When [falling behind] happens late in the game it can get a bit tense, but we are competitors and had all been in this position before. We didn’t let it affect our game and everyone played with composure and we were able to fight it out to the end.

BYU head coach Dave Rose

On tonight’s win

This game was just a gut check for our guys. It had been awhile since we had won a game. Their energy, attitude and approach has been good but when you get to this point it is hard to keep them together because the whole point of this is to get a win. It was a hard matchup for us because of personnel so pulling off the win is one that I will remember how tough the guys hung in there and pulled it out.

It was a team win which makes it feel so much better because there are a lot of guys that are going to walk out with a little bit of a hop to their step and a little more confident in their ability to play and to help. That’s what you need as you go into league. You just want to have your guys playing their best. I think our guys will get a lot of confidence from this win.

On changing the starting lineup

We are on a tough little stretch and I wanted to start league play with a different attitude and a more confident attitude. You take your two seniors who are both defensive guys – I felt like they could really help us defensively.