We showed a lot of good things tonight. It’s all about consistency for us. We’ve got to remember it’s November 1. —Yoeli Childs
PROVO — Behind the dominance of forward Yoeli Childs, BYU raced out to a strong start in an exhibition game against Westminster Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
Childs hit his first nine shots from the floor and the Cougars seized control early.
BYU led by as many as 23 with about 14 minutes remaining before the Griffins cut the deficit to as little as 10 with 1:23 left.
But in the end, the Cougars topped Westminster 76-62 before a crowd of 10,951.
“We showed a lot of good things tonight. It’s all about consistency for us. We’ve got to remember it’s November 1,” said Childs, who finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds. “We had a stretch in the first half, about eight minutes or so, without them scoring. That’s the identity we want to have as a team. In the second half, we went away from that. We weren’t as locked in defensively. It’s part of the process.”
Childs made 11 of 13 shots from the floor, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range in 24 minutes of play. He had 20 points and eight rebounds at halftime.
“He’s worked a lot on that part of his game,” BYU coach Dave Rose said of Childs' 3-point shooting. “I don’t think that’s the part of his game he’s going to rely on all year long. But if people are going to guard us that way, he’ll make quite a few of those.”
“As a post, I need to be able to do a lot of things like that to stretch the floor to help our team,” Childs said of his outside shooting. “Everyone on this team knows that when they’re open, it’s their job to shoot it.”
With Childs on the bench for much of the second half, Rose experimented with different combinations on the floor. And the Cougar offense sputtered.
“We played a lot of guys. I had a lot of lineups out there where no one was on our team last year,” Rose said. “They were trying to play together, which is a good thing. For how exhibitions go most of the time, this is one that will really help us and get better from.”
BYU went more than eight minutes without a field goal during a stretch in the second half. Guard Jahshire Hardnett made a layup with 8:35 remaining and the Cougars didn’t record another field goal until Zac Seljaas hit a 3-pointer with 1:01 left.
“That’s probably my fault,” Rose said of his team’s prolonged scoring drought. “I told my coaches three or four different times that this is a lineup that’s going to be really difficult for us to score. But let’s play them. We played well during that time. We just didn’t score. It’s not like we went totally haywire and went away from what we want to do. We just didn’t have the right balance in there to make those shots.”
Westminster outscored BYU in the second half, 41-38.
“We just rushed some shots,” said guard Elijah Bryant, who scored 17 points and had six rebounds. “We got too lackadaisical. You’ve got to pay attention to the details.”
BYU guard Nick Emery started the game but played only four minutes due to an illness.
“Nick’s not feeling well. We miss him out there,” Rose said. “That’s something you always have to deal with. Next man up.”
The Griffins had three players score in double figures — Quincy Bair (17), Dayon Goodman (16) and Mason Smith (11).
BYU’s next exhibition game tips off next Wednesday (7 p.m.) at home against Colorado College.