Strong defense and a late run propels BYU over San Francisco, 69-59
SAN FRANCISCO – BYU men’s basketball battled back from a late deficit to beat San Francisco 69-59 Thursday night at War Memorial Gym at the Sobrato Center.
The Cougars (13-3, 2-1 WCC) outshot the Dons (9-7, 1-2 WCC) 51.1 percent to 45.3 percent and out-rebounded them 31 to 25 as well. Elijah Bryant led all scorers with 17 points and had seven rebounds. Yoeli Childs added 13 points and pulled down eight boards. Jahshire Hardnett tied his career-high 11 points on a perfect 4 for 4 from the field at critical times.
“The turning point was right about the eight-minute mark in the second half,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “We had slacked a little bit defensively but our guys were determined. Defensively, we did a heck of a job late in the game.”
After San Francisco evened the score 46-46 with 10:37 in the second half, McKay Cannon answered with a 3-pointer. A jumper from Childs gave BYU a four-point lead, 51-47, but the Dons hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take their first lead of the night, 53-51, with 8:35 left.
Childs and Bryant added three and five points, respectively, as BYU took a four-point 59-55 lead with six minutes on the clock. The Cougars finished the night on a 16-4 game-closing run in the final eight minutes to earn the 69-59 win.
To start the game, BYU took an early six-point lead, 11-5, powered by six points from Worthington on two layups and a perfect trip to the charity stripe. The Cougars then went on a 7-0 run to take a 13-point lead, 23-10, with 9:06 on the clock. Zac Seljaas made a layup, Bryant made two free throws and TJ Haws hit a 3-pointer to contribute to the run.
San Francisco responded with a 13-1 run of its own, cutting the lead down to one, 24-23, with with 4:40 left in the half. A solid dunk from Childs on an assist from Haws with 3:38 on the clock built momentum as BYU extended its lead. Three free throws from Payton Dastrup and Bryant, along with two late layups from Hardnett, gave BYU a seven-point 33-26 lead heading into halftime.
The Cougars continue their road trip at Pacific on Saturday at 7 p.m. PST. It will be televised on BYUtv and broadcast on BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143), the BYU Sports Network and KSL (1160 AM and 102.7 FM).
Luke Worthington scored a first half season-high seven points on 2 of 3 shooting from the field and 3 of 4 shooting from the free-throw line. He finished the game with nine points.
Jahshire Hardnett tied his career high with 11 points on 4 of 4 shooting from the field and 3 of 4 from the free-throw line. It is his third double-figure scoring game of the season.
Elijah Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 13:23 left in the first half, giving him at least one 3-point field goal in every game this season. He hit three 3-pointers, his sixth game this season with three-plus 3-pointers. Bryant scored a game-high 17 points, his 12th double-figure game of the season.
Yoeli Childs totaled 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting. He has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including 14-straight games.
As a team BYU shot 51.1 percent from the field, its ninth game this season shooting 50.0 percent or better.
The Cougars have now led at halftime for 10-straight games, dating back to the contest at Utah Valley on November 29.
BYU has now won 10-straight overall against the Dons and seven-straight in San Francisco.
BYU head coach Dave Rose
This was really a hard-fought game. It was a game of runs and momentum. It looked like we were going to get to a comfortable lead in the first half, and then they closed it and it looked like we might go into halftime down a little bit.
The turning point was right about the eight-minute mark in the second half. We had slacked a little bit defensively and our guys were determined. Defensively, we did a heck of a job late in the game. It will be interesting to watch the film and chart out the last seven or eight minutes.
Play of Yoeli Childs
He scored 29 points the other night and they’re crowding him all night long. In the last seven or eight minutes, we had Zac (Seljaas) in the game. With Zac, you have to come out and guard him and it creates more space and Zac threw a couple of great passes into Yo for a coulpe of dunks and finishes. It was a great way to cap off a really hard-fought game where we could have pulled away multiple times. But San Francisco wouldn’t give up and they play so many guys.
Personal play tonight
I definitely tried to be patient. Coach talked to me a lot — ‘Be patient and your time will come.’ That’s definitely what I did tonight.
Team’s response to trailing by two after leading all night
It was getting back to doing what we do. That’s what we stand by and that’s what we did, and we pulled it out at the end.