I thought we were really dialed in together as a group on both ends of the floor. We play a 40-minute game and score 90 points while only turning the ball over six times — that's a good number. —Dave Rose
PROVO — BYU's 95-35 win over Division III's Colorado College Wednesday night went much like Cougar coach Dave Rose was hoping heading into the team's last exhibition game of the season.
The starters built big early leads and more importantly continued to build those leads when the game appeared well in hand. The Cougars built a 48-14 lead in the first half, but it was the second-half play which earned the most praise from Rose.
"I think that we're getting better, and that's a plus," Rose said. "The second half of this game was much better than the second half last week against Westminster, so it has to do with our mindset, and our focus, and our determination of staying within ourselves."
The best team play in the second half was perhaps on the defensive side of the ball, where the Cougars held the Tigers scoreless for just over a six-minute stretch. The result was improving a 57-18 lead early in the second half to 77-18 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
"I think we just focused on defense in the second half. That was the biggest thing," said BYU junior guard Elijah Bryant. "I think it's easy to get a mindset of, 'Oh, we're up, we can make a lot of mistakes,' but late in the season we're going to have to be able to come out and put a team down."
Bryant finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds in only 22 minutes of play. His highlights included a thunderous dunk driving baseline, which probably garnered the biggest cheers from the crowd of 11,294 at the Marriott Center.
Zac Seljaas got the start in place of Nick Emery and responded with a team-high 19 points, which included 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. Yoeli Childs logged 11 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, with TJ Haws adding 13 points and three assists.
"I thought we were really dialed in together as a group on both ends of the floor," Rose said. "We play a 40-minute game and score 90 points while only turning the ball over six times — that's a good number."
Due to how the game played out, Rose was able to empty his bench, with 10 players earning themselves at least 14 minutes of floor time.
"We're all trying to figure out what the rotation is maybe past seven or eight. So guys will get opportunities when they get in there and they need to really take advantage," Rose said. "I think each guy has a real strength that they can bring to the team."
Rose praised the play of sophomore Payton Dastrup, who finished with four points and five rebounds over his 16 minutes of play.
"I thought the minutes that Payton played were really good for him," Rose said. "He's had some real moments in practice and then hopefully he gets more and more prepared to be in the game and help his team."
Colorado College was led by Chris Martin's team-high nine points, and CooXooEii Black, who contributed six points and seven rebounds.
The exhibition season behind them, the Cougars turn to the regular season with a lot of optimism.
"I feel more ready than ever. I think our team does too," said junior Luke Worthington. "We've really gotten to know each other and we're just playing well together We're as ready as we can be, and we just hope this game carries over to the regular season, when games count."
BYU tips off the regular season Saturday at home against Mississippi State.