Cougars top LMU 63-38 in WCC opener
PROVO, Utah — The BYU men’s basketball team topped Loyola Marymount 63-38 in the West Coast Conference opener at the Marriott Center on Saturday night.
"It was a great night," BYU head coach Mark Pope said. "I'm super proud of the guys. I keep talking to them about how it is so important to learn how to get through frustration to become a great team."
Yoeli Childs led the Cougars (12-4, 1-0 WCC) with 19 points on eight of 13 shooting while adding 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Jake Toolson contributed 13 points, five steals and four assists while shooting three of six from beyond the arc. TJ Haws had eight points, five assists and four rebounds on the night while Connor Harding added seven points for BYU.
As a team, the Cougars shot 42.6 percent from the field while holding the Lions (7-9, 1-1 WCC) to just 34 percent.
Following a free throw by Childs and a pair of free throws by Toolson, Toolson found Haws for a backdoor layup to tie the game at five just over four minutes into the game. A reverse layup by Dalton Nixon and a fast-break layup by Zac Seljaas then gave BYU its first lead of the game, 9-7, with 12:38 remaining until halftime.
A Harding jumper put the Cougars up 11-10, but LMU responded with a 5-0 run to go up 15-11 with under eight minutes left in the half. BYU answered with a 8-0 scoring run of its own fueled by a Childs dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers by Toolson and Haws to give the Cougars a 19-15 advantage.
After a Lions jumper brought LMU back within two, Childs scored a put back tip-in and a trey from the right wing to extend BYU’s lead to seven, 24-17, with 3:55 left in the half. The Lions scored one last layup before both teams went into the locker rooms for halftime.
Childs led all scorers in the first half, tallying eight points on three of six shooting while also contributing seven rebounds and one block. As a team, the Cougars shot 32 percent from the field through the first 20 minutes while LMU shot 33 percent.
Childs continued to score to open the second half, hitting a turnaround hook shot and a put back tip-in while being fouled to give BYU an eight-point lead, 29-21, two minutes into the period. After the Lions scored five consecutive points, Haws nailed a jumper and Toolson converted a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 36-27 advantage with 14:11 left in the contest.
A floater by Childs followed by back-to-back corner 3s by Nixon and Harding extended BYU’s lead to 15, 44-29, midway through the second half. Kolby Lee drained a pair of free throws and Childs scored a put back layup and a fast-break dunk to give the Cougars a 51-36 advantage with 4:49 left in the game.
Toolson hit a trey after getting a steal and Alex Barcello drained a corner 3 as part of a 10-0 scoring run to aid BYU’s comfortable lead, 61-36, with 3:12 remaining. One last jumper from each team before the buzzer sounded brought the final score to 63-38 for the Cougars.
BYU continues WCC play on the road at Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 8 p.m. PST. The game will be televised live on either ESPN2 or ESPNU and audio broadcasts will be available on BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM), BYU Sports Network and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
- BYU held Loyola Marymount to 38 points, the fewest points the Cougars have allowed all season. The Lions scored 19 in each half, the two lowest scoring halves by BYU opponents this season.
- Yoeli Childs totaled 19 points and 12 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season and 41st of his career. He has scored in double figures in all seven games played this season and 15-straight dating back to last season.
- Jake Toolson totaled 13 points and a career-best five steals. It marked his 12th double figure scoring game and eighth game with three-plus 3-pointers.
- TJ Haws posted eight points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals. It marked his 10th game this season and sixth-straight with five-plus assists and his 13th career game with three-plus steals.
BYU Coach Mark Pope
"One of the things that we felt early in the season was that when shots weren’t falling or we didn't have a good flow offensively, it affected us on the defensive end. It didn’t effect us on the defensive end at all tonight."
"I can’t tell you how proud I am of our team that, despite the frustration and muddiness, these guys came and competed on the defensive end every single possession. It’s a beautiful marker for this group of guys this season, and if we keep moving in that direction we have a chance to become a really good team."
"I don’t know if it was the best defensive performance, but I do think it was a sold out commitment to trying every single possession with the frustration that was happening on the offensive end."
BYU Senior Guard Jake Toolson
"We can’t let what’s happening offensively dictate the energy that we have defensively. In this case we were able to fight through what we were dealing with offensively and buckle down and get stops. That translated to the other end.”
“We don’t stop shooting shots just because we start slow. We take open shots and we try to own every shot. So we’re not going to stop shooting open shots because they’re not falling for a little bit we’re just going to keep taking the good ones and sharing the ball.”
“We just wanted to play hard every possession, even when there were a lot of turnovers or missed possessions out there. We were just focused on making a play, getting a stop or a good look and just executing. I think if we can continue to do that and not live in the past but try to be present, then we’ll be able to go on some big runs.”
BYU Senior Forward Yoeli Childs
“Our defensive performance was great. I think we were so locked in as a team. Our individual one-on-one defense was about being in the gaps and being able to help and rotating. We just did such a good job of playing together on the defensive end.”
“I was trying to be assertive in getting into my position in the paint. I think the guards did a good job of finding me and the coaches did a good job of emphasizing getting to the paint and being more aggressive. I think our mentality was to be aggressive and get to the rim.”
“I think we’re just so locked in every game. This team just has a different energy. This team is so prepared every single game and we understand that every single game is make or break. We’ve been playing with that mentality and I think it’s helped.”