PROVO, Utah – A balanced offensive attack and stellar team defense led BYU men’s basketball to a 75-42 victory over Nevada at the Marriott Center on Tuesday.
“I am really proud of our guys tonight," BYU coach Mark Pope said. "The guys really locked in and took on a team that has been on fire. This Nevada team has been one of the scariest offensive teams that we have prepared for. Their backcourt is so skilled and so effective in making shots and shots that are hard to take away. Our guys were really locked in and they managed the defensive end really well and we managed some frustration on the offensive end really well and that’s a huge skill. Huge win for us and it is really important. I am really proud of our guys and ready for the next one.”
The Cougars held Nevada to just 25 percent shooting from the field and three made three-pointers. The 42 points are the fewest allowed by BYU this season.
Five Cougars scored in double digits, including Jake Toolson (15), Yoeli Childs (14), Alex Barcello (13), TJ Haws (11) and Connor Harding (10). Childs also recorded his second-straight double-double as grabbed 13 of the Cougars’ 49 rebounds. Toolson also had seven boards and dished six assists to lead the team.
Barcello splashed a 3 from the corner to give the Cougars their first points of the game, quickly followed by a TJ Haws midrange jumper. Nevada responded with two buckets to tie the score at 5-5.
Haws drained a deep 3 to give BYU the lead 8-5. The Cougar defense was effective to hold the Wolf Pack to just 2 of 8 from the field in the early part of the half. Harding quickly dropped five points in a row, sinking a 3 and a quick two close to the basket to bring the lead to 16-7.
Two more Haws 3-point shots gave him a 3 of 4 start to the game from deep. Barcello got the line and went 2-2 from the charity stripe, pushing the BYU lead to double digits for the first time at 24-13.
Toolson took over in the last five minutes, making two 3-point shots and dishing an assist to Harding. Kolby Lee made a contested basket over two Wolfpack defenders to bring the Cougars to a 34-20 halftime lead.
BYU shot 32.7 percent on 12 of 27 shooting in the first half but made 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Cougars also out-rebounded Nevada 17-13 in the first period, grabbing six offensive rebounds to the visitors’ 0.
The Cougars started the second half on a 9-0 run, behind a 3-pointer from Toolson and six-straight points from Childs. Childs was excellent near the rim as he made a contested layup, two free-throws and a hook shot. Barcello dished an assist to Dalton Nixon in transition who slashed to the hoop for two.
Nixon struck again at the rim, extending the BYU lead to 49-26. Barcello continued the BYU attack at the rim and crossed over a defender on the way to the rack to sink another layup for the Cougars.
A couple of tightly contested baskets from Nixon and Barcello kept the game going BYU’s way. Barcello finished a tough and-one play and dropped a 3 after a Childs block, continuing the Cougars’ hot second-half shooting streak.
Childs scored all 14 of his points in the second half as the team finished the second period shooting 51.6 percent from the field. BYU’s hot shooting brought the Cougars the home victory as they downed Nevada 75-42.
BYU returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 14, to take on Utah State at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. The game tips off at 6 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on BYUtv. Radio broadcasts will be available on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM. Tickets can be purchased on byutickets.com.