MORAGA, Calif. – The BYU men's basketball team fell 88-66 to Saint Mary's in West Coast Conference action Saturday night at McKeon Pavilion. The Cougars are now 9-8 overall and 1-1 in league play.
"I think that they (Saint Mary's) played well but we had a lot to do with it," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "The way that we played in this game needs to be turned around. We need to find a real core to our group that we can rely on every game and then build from there."
Yoeli Childs led the team with a double-double after scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. TJ Haws contributed 20 points while recording four rebounds, one assist and one steal. Nick Emery tallied a season-best 13 points and two rebounds.
Saint Mary's jumped ahead 4-0 before TJ Haws scored six consecutive points to give BYU a 6-4 advantage four minutes into the game.
The Gaels' took back the lead but 3-pointers by Nick Emery and Connor Harding helped the Cougars even the game at 18-all with 9:34 on the clock.
Despite BYU tying the game on multiple occasions, Saint Mary's managed to not give up the lead after the Cougars led 15-14 at the 11:30 mark. Three-straight buckets from beyond the arc gave the Gaels a seven-point lead, 34-27, and forced a BYU timeout.
In the final three minutes of the first half, Saint Mary's went on an 8-0 run but Haws answered with a deep trey at the buzzer to keep it a 10-point game going into the locker room, 42-32.
In the first half, the Cougars shot 40 percent from the field compared to the Gaels' 47.4 percent. Haws led all scorers with 13 points while Emery contributed eight.
Saint Mary's kicked off the second half with another trey as the two teams managed to score on both ends of the court and with 15:39 remaining in the game, the Gaels held an 11-point lead, 51-40. Childs scored the first eight points for BYU in the second half.
Near the 13-minute mark, Saint Mary's took a 16-point lead but once again, Haws answered with a long 3-pointer to bring the score to 59-46.
Childs put together seven-consecutive points, including converting on a three-point play, but the Gaels continued to keep a double-digit lead.
Saint Mary's went on a 17-5 run to increase its lead to 80-56 with three minutes left in the game and ultimately secure the win.
On the game, the Cougars shot 40.7 percent from the field, 35.3 percent from 3 and 72.7 percent from the free throw line. The Gaels recorded 54.8 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and 73.3 percent from the charity stripe.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center after five games on the road on Thursday, Jan. 10 against WCC foe Portland. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised live on BYUtv 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 totaled 21 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. It marks his second-straight double-double, 10th this season and 30th of his career. His 30 double-doubles are tied with Steve Trumbo for sixth most in BYU history. It was also his 10th 20-point game of the season and 25 of his career.
TJ Haws totaled 20 points and four rebounds, his seventh 20-point game of the season and 16th of his career.
Nick Emery came off the bench and scored a season-best 13 points. He hit 3 of 6 from the field, 2 of 4 from 3-point range and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line.
BYU guard TJ Haws
On tonight’s game
Saint Mary’s is a very good team and they are very good at what they do. We knew we were in for a fight tonight. I thought we didn’t come out ready to go from the start. Our energy on the floor wasn’t great at all. If you give a team like that momentum and confidence, then they are very good all night and they were really good all night.
On returning home
I am very excited to get back in front of our fans and to have a conference game as well. It should be good and fun to get back home.
BYU head coach Dave Rose
On tonight’s game
I think that they played well but we had a lot to do with it. I can’t remember a game where I think we were just so confused. We were confused offensively and defensively. I thought we had a really good mindset coming into this and we had good preparation coming in from the last two days after our win at Pacific. When we got down a little bit it seemed we were really scattered as a group.
On moving forward
We look forward to it. Being at home isn’t going to fix all of the issues. I need to do a much better job of dialing into a group and a much better rotation. I feel like I let these guys down sometimes with some of the lineups that I get out there. We will do a lot of soul searching and evaluation. The way that we played in this game needs to be turned around. We need to find a real core to our group that we can rely on every game and then build from there. I think we are capable of doing it. I love the attitude of the group and the leadership of the team.