"We made a few mistakes that we can't control, but I think we're capable of beating a lot of teams. We just really didn't show up tonight. —TJ Haws
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — BYU lost a tough one to Alabama, 71-59, on Friday afternoon in the opening of the Barclays Center Classic, which took place at the LIU-Brooklyn campus.
John Petty led the way for Alabama, which improved to 5-0 on the season, with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including four 3-pointers.
Yoeli Childs led the way for the Cougars, posting a double-double with 21 points (9-16 FG) and 11 rebounds. He was the only BYU player to score in double figures.
Alabama's stifling defense held BYU to just 37.3 percent from the field (22 for 59) and 23.5 percent on threes (4 for 17).
"I think some of (our shots) were a bit rushed, but the way our team is put together, we have to make those shots, especially against a team like Alabama as physical as they are, as big as they are," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "You just can't take the ball and get to the rim and expect that that's going to be your steady diet of how you're going to play offense."
"It just wasn't our night offensively. I don't know," Childs said. "We have dudes that make 70 percent (of their) shots from three when they're open and it just didn't happen tonight ... I don't know, just wasn't our day, but we got to stick with what we do because we got a lot of good looks."
Elijah Bryant got the game off to a nice start for BYU, as he drained a corner 3-pointer, but Alabama responded with a 7-0 run capped by a Petty three at the 18:03 mark.
That was just the start of things for Alabama, as its fast-paced offense powered the Tide to a 20-8 lead capped by Dazon Ingram finding Donta Hall for a fast-break dunk with 14:01 left.
Alabama maintained its 12-point edge until BYU went on a 6-0 run led by a Childs dunk at the 4:06 mark that made it 35-28.
A timeout followed the Childs dunk, and coming out of it, Alabama's Ingram made an easy layup, Kajon Brown took an offensive foul for BYU, and Petty drained a three to make it 40-28 Alabama. At the half, Alabama led 42-31.
Childs had 15 points in the first half, going 7 for 8 from the field.
"I think my teammates were just finding me in good spots," Childs said when asked what worked well for him in that first half. "The ball was just moving. We run a lot of high-low stuff and they were sitting on the guards in the corners, so when teams try to take me away on the high-low, the corners will be open, and I try to take the corners away and I'll be open above, so it's kind of pick your poison."
In the second half, BYU cut the deficit to seven, 44-37, on a TJ Haws jumper, but Alabama responded with a 9-2 run, punctuated by a play that definitely showed how this game went.
Childs missed a jumper at the 12:21 mark, tried to get his own rebound, surrounded by three crimson jerseys, and just as it looked like he might come away with it, Petty swooped in to wrestle him for it, and the referee blew the whistle to signal jump ball.
The possession arrow gave it to Alabama, and as if on cue, Petty made a layup to make it 53-39.
A minute later, with 10:39 on the clock, Alabama's Riley Norris drove the lane with ease and made it 57-42 to give the Tide their biggest lead of the day, 15 points.
BYU got a late spark from Zac Seljaas, who made back-to-back threes to make it 63-55 Alabama, but like throughout most of this game, next thing you knew, it was back to a 10-point deficit, then 12 on a Hall tip-in with 1:13 left to make it 71-59.
"I was proud of how our guys competed in the game," Rose said. "They did a good job after the first few minutes of keeping them off the glass, trying to spread out a bit offensively. It's just one of those things that you get that thing and you got a wide open shot, and we got to make a few more of them. We have to step up to the free throw line, be better there."
BYU went 11 for 21 from the free-throw line, and Childs shot just 3 for 9 from the charity stripe.
"I shoot a hundred free throws every day, usually make around 90 of them; couldn't hit," Childs said.
The Alabama defense was especially tough on Haws, who finished with nine points, which is under his season average of 13.3 per game. He shot 4 for 11 from the field and 1 for 6 behind the arc. Haws had six assists and four rebounds, right in line with his average.
"We made a few mistakes that we can't control, but I think we're capable of beating a lot of teams," Haws said. "We just really didn't show up tonight."
BYU committed 11 turnovers and forced nine by Alabama.
Alabama's size and length threw off BYU for most of the night on defense.
"I just think we try to mix up our defenses," Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. "We had our two bigs in there. Daniel (Giddens) and Donta (Hall) are big guys and they're long and they can run and they can move. We have smaller lineups that we can do pick-and-roll coverages and execute a lot of coverages on our pick-and-rolls. I think in today's game, you can't have one pick-and-roll coverage, you need four or five or six of them just to keep teams off balance and we needed them all today against BYU, whose a well-coached team and they got a lot of veterans that know how to play."
Giddens is 6-foot-11, 247 pounds, and he had eight points (3-4 FG) and two rebounds, while Hall is 6-9, 232, and he almost had a double-double with 14 points (6-8 FG) and nine rebounds.
"I give Alabama a lot of credit, talented, deep, really athletic, thought that was the difference in the game," said Rose. "I feel like I need to be really complementary of my guys for the fight they had in them, the competitiveness, we didn't execute as well as we needed to, we turned the ball over, I think it ended up being 11 times, but I think four of them were offensive fouls where we were maybe just trying to do too much and they sped us up a little bit, but Avery (Johnson) is going to have a fun year. He's got a good team."
"I think we had a good scheme on the defensive end," said Childs. "There were just a couple little plays that didn't go our way. I think if you flip a couple of plays, it's totally different. We cut it to within 10 points with four minutes left. I'm proud of the way our guys competed."
Rose summed up his feelings on the afternoon when he arrived for his postgame press conference in front of a black backdrop that said "Barclays Center."
Rose looked at it and said, "That should say LIU Brooklyn with a lot of windows on one side." Asked if the facility felt weird, Rose said, "Yeah, unique, I don't know if we've ever played an afternoon game...I know they played in some gym, so that's not, not saying anything. Not what we expected when we signed up for this thing."
BYU got into New York City on Wednesday night and spent Thanksgiving here.
"It's different being away from your family and stuff, but these guys are like a second family," said Childs. "They're really like brothers to me. A lot of people say that, but I really mean that. I love every single player on this team like a brother, so it's always great to spend time with them and it was pretty good. Food was good, we got some New York pizza for Thanksgiving. Checked out Times Square for a sec."
BYU entered this one having won three of their first four to open the season, including Tuesday night against Niagara, 95-88.
This is BYU's first time in Brooklyn since they played in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in 2012 against Florida State and Notre Dame.
BYU's next game in the Barclays Center Classic is Saturday at 12:30 p.m. MT against UMass, which lost to Minnesota 69-51 in the first game on Friday.