Bryant and Childs push BYU past Portland 69-45
PROVO, Utah – Elijah Bryant’s and Yoeli Childs’ career nights helped push BYU men’s basketball past Portland 69-45 Thursday night at the Marriott Center to open West Coast Conference play.
“Well, that's a good way to start the league,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “It was a game where I thought our guys were really committed on the defensive end. It's a team that is hard for us with their size and how they play to spread you out. We did a really good job at getting in our gaps and getting them to turn the ball over. Now we will move on and prepare for Saturday.”
Childs led the Cougars with a career-high 26 points to go with 13 boards for a double-double. Bryant added 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for a second double-double. TJ Haws contributed eight points, six boards and four assists in the win.
BYU (12-2, 1-0 WCC) grabbed the first four points of the game on buckets by Childs and Luke Worthington. Portland (6-8, 0-1 WCC) quickly countered with a pair of 3-pointers to take an 8-6 edge.
A duo of Haws and Bryant shots pushed the Cougars ahead 19-11 with 10:16 left in the half.
The Pilots followed with a 9-2 run to get back within one, down 21-20. Childs then scored on a dunk and a jumper to make it 25-20, forcing a Portland timeout.
Childs continued to dominate down low, collecting back-to-back dunks to give BYU a 31-24 lead heading into halftime.
After the break, the Pilots slowly worked their way back into the game, trailing by a point at 36-35 after the first media timeout.
A Zac Seljaas jumper followed six-straight points from Childs, increasing the Cougar advantage back to seven at 46-39.
Three layups from Bryant then pushed the lead to 17, 56-39, with just over six minutes left to play.
BYU maintained its advantage from there, taking the game 69-45.
The Cougars stay at the Marriott Center for their next game, facing Saint Mary’s Saturday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m. MST. The game will be televised live on ESPNU as well as broadcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143, the BYU Sports Network and 1160 AM/102.7 FM.
Yoeli Childs scored a team-best 14 points in the first half on 7 of 11 shooting. He also added five rebounds and one block. He had double digit points in the first half for the third time in four games and sixth time this season.
Childs finished the game with a career-best 26 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. It is his sixth double-double of the season and 11th of his career. Childs has scored in double figures 13 times this season.
With two blocks against Portland, Childs has registered at least one block in all but two games this season.
Elijah Bryant stuffed the stat sheet in the first half with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block and 2 steals.
Bryant finished the game with 22 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, one block and two steals. His 15 rebounds are a career high. This marks his first career double-double. Bryant has scored in double figures 10 times this season.
The last time two Cougars had double-doubles in the same game was Feb. 4, 2017, vs. Portland. Eric Mika had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Childs had 15 and 10.
Braiden Shaw played three minutes tonight, his first appearance of the season after missing the first 13 games due to an ankle injury.
For the fifth time in six games and seventh time this season, BYU has shot 50.0 percent or better in the first half. The Cougars hit 14 of 27 for 51.9 percent against the Pilots.
BYU finished the game shooting 50.0 percent from the field, its fifth in the last sixth games and eighth overall shooting 50.0 percent or better.
That's a good way to start the league. It was a game where I thought our guys were really committed on the defensive end. It's a team that is hard for us with their size and how they play to spread you out. It makes it tougher to guard the perimeter. We did a really good job at getting in our gaps and getting them to turn the ball over. It's a good thing we did get a few turnovers that led to some easy baskets because we were having a heck of a time scoring in the first half. But I thought in the second half we got even better defensively which is a good sign. These league wins are always special when you get that first one. Now we will move on and prepare for Saturday.
I think that they did a much better job at really trying to drive because they weren't really shooting the ball as well as they did in the first half. What I thought we did is we got the pressure on the ball better and guys in the gap where they could trust it and those guys actually got out to their shooters.
On Yoeli and Elijah:
Eli and Yo were huge on both ends. Rebounding the ball and converting baskets at the rim. They did a great job getting to the free throw line and it was a good lift for us. I think that tonight we saw a really aggressive driving Eli, which was really good to see. He's feeling a lot more confident. He's capable of making five or six 3s a game and tonight he made two big ones for us. The way he handled the ball, came off screens and assisted it, he was multi-faceted for us tonight. For Yoeli, the important thing for him is when he rolls, he can roll hard and get right on that block. Our guys are pretty confident in getting him the ball. He does a good job of sealing and getting a good angle. Because of the shooters, we had space and he made a couple aggressive drives to the rim and got right to the front of the rim and finished strong.
We went back to our concepts. We were a little antsy in the first period, taking quick shots and stuff like that. Once we went back to our concepts, we slowed down a little bit.
I think we contested a lot of 3s and they hit a lot of tough shots, but that’s still not good enough. We’ve got to get them to miss.
We’ve been talking all year that no matter what the defense does, they’re wrong. I think we’re really frustrating teams when we play unselfishly. Nobody cares who scores. Nobody cares about their numbers. Everyone just cares about making the right play and getting a win.
On Phillipp Hartwich:
He was a really good shot player. I think our game with Texas Southern really helped out with playing another 7-foot-2 guy. Wins, losses, we learn from everything.
We’re going into practice every day with a mindset of being better on defense. With the guys we have, the offense is going to come. Every game we’re trying to lock in more and more on that defensive side and have that mindset. Teams might hit more shots, but if we’re contesting shots like we were tonight we’ll be fine.
On Saint Mary’s:
They’re going to come out and see a totally different team. A team that shares the ball a little better [and] plays with a better pace. I think that we’ve worked really hard, especially on the defensive end, at being able to guard what they do.
Head coach Terry Porter
Overall a lot of credit goes to BYU. They did a tremendous job of not letting us get into any type of rhythm offensively. We just didn't find any rhythm. Our scorers struggled early on. We turned it over and allowed those guys to get out into the open court and get some easy baskets. We allowed Childs to really get into a good rhythm early in the first half and get to where he wanted to get to pretty easy on us. So we didn't show enough resistance, which was disappointing, but that is what happens. You have to come out and be ready to come out and compete, and I don't think we did that.
How they will learn from this game moving forward:
Playing on the road is always tough and our conference teams always play well at home. This is a great environment and our guys just didn't respond to it as well as we should have. Now we are going home and we have to make sure that we come out with better intensity and better purpose than we had tonight. I just don't think we played with the sense of urgency and type of intensity we needed.