PROVO, Utah – Four Cougars reached double figures in scoring as BYU comfortably defeated UT Tyler 100-58 in an exhibition matchup at the Marriott Center on Friday.
"I'm super happy that our team had the opportunity to get on the floor and play against someone," BYU head coach Mark Pope said. "Louis Wilson is a good friend and a great coach so it was fun to have his team in the gym. We're excited now for a quick turnaround to start the season."
Freshman guard Trevin Knell knocked down five of his six 3-point attempts in the second half to lead the team with 19 points. Senior guard Jake Toolson added 17 points along with seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Connor Harding scored 15 points while sophomore forward Kolby Lee contributed 13 points. Senior forward Dalton Nixon and Harding led the team with eight rebounds apiece.
Toolson fed the ball to Nixon for a layup to open up the scoring for the Cougars before Toolson added a pair of baskets of his own to help BYU jump out to a 9-3 lead five minutes into the game. Harding knifed through the lane for a driving layup while drawing a foul on the make. His free throw extended the Cougars’ lead to double digits, 13-3.
Junior guard Alex Barcello capitalized on a steal by Nixon, finding a wide-open Lee under the basket for an easy lay-in. Toolson hit a jumper in the lane and senior forward Yoeli Childs put back an offensive rebound for a score to stretch BYU’s lead to 23-8 with 8:49 remaining in the half. Within the next minute, the Patriots outscored the Cougars 6-2 to cut the lead to 25-14.
With less than four minutes on the clock, senior guard Evan Troy made a basket to start a 10-2 BYU run with Lee scoring three baskets in the post in three-consecutive possessions to give the Cougars a 40-19 lead at the half.
Lee led both teams in scoring at the break with nine points. Toolson scored eight points with Childs and Nixon adding seven points each. Harding and Nixon both pulled down six boards apiece to help BYU out rebound UT Tyler 24-19 in the half.
After recording a steal on the defensive end of the court in the opening moments of the second half, Barcello took the ball down the length of the court before hitting a pull-up jumper near the free throw line. Harding then knocked down the Cougars’ first 3-pointer of the game on the following possession to extend the lead to 45-22.
Toolson added another make from behind the arc as he made three baskets to score seven points in 50 seconds. Knell made a pair of 3-point shots from the corner to give BYU the 34-point lead, 62-28 with 12:50 left in the game.
Knell continued to have the hot hand as he added two more from deep on back-to-back possessions. With a couple of free throws and a floater in the lane, Knell propelled the Cougars to a 79-40 lead.
In the final five minutes, Knell knocked down his fifth 3-pointer of the game and Harding scored seven points as BYU cruised to a 100-58 victory.
The Cougars will open up the 2019-20 regular season with their home opener against Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on BYUtv with radio broadcasts available on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM and KSL 102.7 FM/1160AM. Tickets can be purchased on byutickets.com.
Head Coach Mark Pope
On Trevin Knell's 3-pointers
At halftime, we talked about the concern that we hadn't gotten enough up. Trevin Knell listened and he was excited to get shots up. I'm looking forward to coaching him. I recruited him intensely for a really long time.
On creating cohesion as a team
We were so determined to make plays and we never really got into a flow (in the first half). In the second half, we had more of a flow. We tried to use the advantage right away every time in the first half and then we got ourselves in a better place in the second half as we thought about making plays for each other. This is our first live scrimmage of the season so this was a new line up. The team responded and were focused on guarding. They gave a strong effort on the glass, which is crucial for us.
On Kolby Lee's play tonight
Kolby Lee played great tonight. He was patient in the post and he had some closeouts.
On frontcourt play without Yoeli Childs
I felt okay about it. It's going to be a patchwork. I thought Connor Harding was unbelievable. He ended with eight rebounds. His effort on the glass is going to be crucial for the team. Dalton Nixon played confidently as well. We're going to need Taylor Maughn to have a physical presence. All of those men need to play big and we're going to find a way to do it.
Guard Trevin Knell
On his five 3-pointers in the second half
Coach Pope emphasized how we need to rebound and run with the pace, help each other in transition. It was huge that we ran with the pace.
On his first collegiate game
It felt really good after two years on my mission, being able to play and come out and feeling pretty confident. Yoeli gave me a huge pep talk before the game because I was pretty nervous just getting back from my mission. It was a great confidence booster. We have great teammates here that all gathered around me, so my nerves were calmed. It helped a lot.
Forward Kolby Lee
On tonight's performance
I don’t think we did anything too special, we just went out there and played our game. We didn’t let them dictate much. We just listened to our coaches and trusted the game plan. Went out and executed.