Cougars fall 71-59 to No. 25 Crimson Tide
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – BYU men’s basketball fell 71-59 Friday afternoon to No. 25 Alabama at the Steinberg Wellness Center on the campus of LIU-Brooklyn as part of the Barclays Center Classic.
“I think there's a lot of really good that we can take from this game with our guys,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I think that we did a lot of things well enough to win this game. You talk about a team that is really physical and has great size and athleticism. The bottom line is that we had the game at certain points where we really needed to make a play to put them in a position to panic, but we never really got to that point.”
Yoeli Childs led all players with 21 points to go with 11 boards. TJ Haws collected nine points and six assists while Jahshire Hardnett had six points and five assists.
Elijah Bryant hit a 3-pointer to start the game, giving BYU (3-2) its only lead of the afternoon. Alabama (5-0) countered with a 7-0 run to go up 7-3, forcing a Cougar timeout.
The Crimson Tide continued to roll from there, taking a 12-point lead from a dunk, 20-8, with 14 minutes remaining in the half.
BYU countered with an 8-2 rally, which included a pair of buckets by Hardnett, to get back within six, trailing 22-16.
A free throw, layup and dunk from Childs kept the Cougars in the game, down 27-21, but Alabama scored eight of the next nine points to re-extend its advantage to 35-22.
Childs then posted three-straight buckets, including two dunks, forcing the Crimson Tide to take a timeout ahead by seven, 35-28, with just over four minutes left before halftime.
Luke Worthington hit a shot from the charity stripe in the closing seconds of the half to get BYU back within 11, trailing 42-31 at the break.
A Bryant layup kept the Cougars within striking distance, down 46-39, but Alabama scored the next seven points to go back up 53-39 with 11:59 remaining in the game.
BYU struggled to hit long-distance shots as the Crimson Tide followed up a Cougar miss with a 3-pointer, making it 61-47.
Zac Zeljaas then hit back-to-back treys to get within eight, down 63-55, but it wasn’t enough as Alabama took the game 71-59.
BYU stays in Brooklyn for its next game, competing against Massachusetts Saturday, Nov. 25, at 2:30 p.m. EST at the Barclays Center. The game will be streamed live by Stadium College Basketball. It will also be broadcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143, the BYU Sports Network and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
BYU head coach Dave Rose
I think there's a lot of really good that we can take from this game with our guys. Especially with what we're trying to do. I think that we did a lot of things well enough to win this game. You talk about a team that is really physical and has great size and athleticism. It looked like they were just going to control the entire game, especially around the boards early. Our guys found a way to compete on the glass and ended up with 13 offensive rebounds to their eight, which I thought was a good number.
We missed a lot of shots and that really caused some issues for us. The way this team is put together, we're going to have to be able to shoot the ball better from the field. Shooting at 37 percent from the field is going to be hard to win any game - especially a game that's not in your building. The fact that we only turned the ball over 11 times against a pressing, athletic, long team - the bottom line is that we had the game at certain points where we really needed to make a play to put them in a position to panic, but we never really got to that point.
This was a Top-25 team. We were right there. A couple of more free throws and a higher percentage at the 3-point line and it's a different game.
I'm from Mississippi, but Mississippi and Alabama is really a football rivalry. This is just basketball, but it was a tough loss.
On being in the starting lineup
I was having some issues with myself coming off of the bench. It wasn't a thing I ever did. So, I had to get used to it. Me coming off of the bench kind of had my confidence down. It was like I wasn't playing up to par or helping my team the way I should. So, me getting the start kind of boosted my confidence back up.
We'll sit around and watch film. I feel like I was struggling these past few games, so I really like watching film. I'm feeling more confident now to score the ball and help out my team.