PROVO, Utah – Freshmen Yoeli Childs, TJ Haws, Colby Leifson and Steven Beo made strong first impressions as White beat Blue 80-77 in the annual Papa John's Cougar Tipoff Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
"A lot of young guys played a lot of minutes tonight," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "I like the group we have and the result of what happened out there. I'm looking forward to everyone getting healthy and playing actual opponents."
Childs was allowed to play past his fifth foul, and put up 21 points and 14 rebounds with eight fouls for the White team. Teammate Haws contributed 20 points and seven assists.
For the Blue, Leifson knocked down 7-of-15 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 24 points. Beo had 20 points and five rebounds.
Blue led most of the way in the first half, and took a 40-33 lead into the break.
Jamal Aytes paced Blue's scoring in the early going, with seven points in the first 10 minutes.
Haws provided an offense spark for White several minutes in, with two long 3-pointers made one minute apart.
Blue kept a lead as the game neared the halfway point, thanks in large part to three late 3-pointers from Leifson. He ended the first half as the leading scorer, with 15 points.
White got fans on their feet by connecting on an alley-oop from Haws to senior forward Kyle Davis just before the halftime buzzer.
In addition to Leifson's 15, Beo and Aytes both had 10 points for Blue at the break.
For White, Childs led the way with 11 points and nine rebounds. Davis and Haws each had eight points.
White worked its way back into the game quickly in the second half. After narrowing the gap to two points multiple times, it tied the game at 46-46 with 14:24 on the clock via a spinning reverse lay-in from Davin Guinn.
On the next possession, Childs scored in the paint to put White on top. A few minutes later, Haws drove in and passed behind his back to Childs, who dunked it to extend White's lead to 53-47 with 11:09 left.
Blue cut its deficit to two points when Leifson hit his seventh 3-pointer of the game with 7:56 left. At that juncture, White led 64-62.
Despite keeping it tight, Blue never got closer than a bucket as White went on for the 80-77 win.
Double-digit scorers besides the four freshman were Aytes (15 points), Davis (15), Nick Emery (13) and Guinn (11).
Rostered players who didn't play in the Tipoff were Eric Mika, L.J. Rose and Elijah Bryant. Rose and Bryant are recovering from injuries, while Mika sat out as a precautionary measure due to ankle discomfort.
BYU will play an exhibition on Saturday at the Marriott Center against Seattle at 7 p.m. MDT. That game will be televised on BYUtv, and audio broadcasts can be heard on the Cougar IMG Network, KSL radio (1160 AM and 102.7 FM) and BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143).
Coach Dave Rose
"This game used to be really hard for me over the years, but now I think I just enjoy being able to have fun in it, watching the guys just play. It’s a little interesting as a coach, how you watch your guys play against each other and every time the ball is scored you are both excited and upset at the same time because they are scoring on your guys. But it was a fun game.
"I thought the white team shot the ball extremely well. The fact that they turned the ball over 15 times is a real issue, however. It seemed like they either made a basket or turned it over. And that is obviously something we really need to work on. The blue team did a really good job of staying in there; they are the youngest of the group, with least experience. But I though Steven Beo and Colby Leifson really kept them in the game, Colby especially with his 3-point shots. I though Jamal and Payton and Braiden all did a good job. Late in the game, Zach Frampton got a couple big offensive rebounds and steals and hit a big three and a layup. A lot of young guys got to play a lot of minutes tonight."
"Without LJ and Eli and Eric, it was good to see a lot of other guys playing. Yoeli had a really good game and we’ll get through all his foul trouble. I thought KD played a great second half and Nick and TJ were just trying figure out how everything is going to work together. So, I like the group, I like the result of what happened out there, and hopefully we get everybody healthy. Now we are looking forward to playing somebody else."
On Colby Leifson
"This is what he does, it is who he is. He has done this a lot in practice for us. Every scrimmage he’ll hit four or five threes. Our question will be when other people see him and when he becomes labeled as a real 3-point shooter. He is potentially as good as we’ve had at getting the ball up quick. Colby is young and he is confident. Tonight was pretty good for him and hopefully that’s what we get from him."
On the rotations
"A lot of young guys played a lot of minutes, and that is pretty good for us. We all want all those guys (injured) out there. They have had Division 1 experience. But for a lot of our other guys, it is their first experience out there, under the lights, with fans in the stands. It was good to see guys like Yoeli and TJ and Beo and Colby and Zach get out there and perform well. I was also really pleased for Jamal. He has had a tough road and he has fought through those things. He is not nearly as explosive, but he has built his body so that he can be a real presence down there in the post. He can be a really strong offensive rebounder. We saw a lot of good things tonight, and now we can turn our sights on Seattle-Pacific and worry about coaching one team instead of two."
"We’ll really have to sure up our defensive attack. Without a lot of subs on either team, it was hard to manage and field two teams tonight. But offensively, when you look at it, we got a lot of guys in that scored a lot of points which is good for their confidence, but defense and rebounding are two things we really need to work on."
“First off it was just so fun to be back playing and have the Marriott Center with some people in it. It’s been a long summer so that was just a blast. Overall I think we did some great things. We will watch some film now to know what we need to work on this next week. Overall I think it was a good night.”
On post touches
“It’s great. It’s just going to be a part of our offense. The great thing is we have post guys that can make moves but another luxury is you can throw it out to a guy like Colby who is going to make seven threes or TJ (Haws) or Nick (Emery) or whoever it might be. It’s going to be really fun because we are going to have two threat options right there.”
On being deep at the post position
“It helps having such a skilled group of guys that can score. If someone gets in foul trouble or if someone has an off night you always have another guy that subs in and he is really going to be able to contribute offensively and defensively. It’s fun and I think it will be hard for teams to double-team in the post because you have another scoring post threat and you’ve also got guards that can shoot it. Coach Rose is glad he has several guys he can go to and try to make something happen in the post.”
On next few days of prep before Seattle Pacific
“We will get after some of the film tomorrow and even get on to a little bit of Seattle Pacific. I think one thing we will work on is trying to improve our defense. Coach Lewis has put in great defensive schemes and we are just going to keep working on those and try to make sure our points per possession is pretty low and keep trying to get better.”
Guard Colby Leifson
“These guys make it pretty easy, especially the bigs. I missed my first two I think and they would always tell me keep shooting and it gave me confidence even when I had put my head down a little. I think that’s big, especially coming from those older guys that have been through it many, many times. I think it really comes from those guys, just continuing to trust in me to knock down shots.”
On practices being competitive like the game
“We have not had many blowouts at all. It hasn’t been a first and second group but any two teams that Coach puts together it is very, very competitive. I think that helps a lot going out there and knowing you can trust every guy on the floor.”
On playing fast in transition
“I’m still comfortable in the half court sets but I think it’s easier to get open looks in transition, especially with the way these guys move the ball. (Steven) Beo and (Zach) Frampton they were driving and finding me very well along with the bigs too. It’s very fun to play with them.” â€‹
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