We were much better defensively. The 3-point line was a real issue for us in last year’s game. —BYU coach Dave Rose
OREM — BYU forward Yoeli Childs entered the UCCU Center Wednesday night eager to avenge last year’s humiliating 114-101 loss to Utah Valley University at the Marriott Center.
Led by Childs’ 24 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, the Cougars dominated the Wolverines, 85-58, before a crowd of 7,574.
How much was Childs and his teammates motivated by last year’s result?
“A ton,” said Childs, who hit 9 of 13 shots from the floor, including 2 of 2 from 3-point territory. “We try to treat every game the same but personally, it was definitely a big game. Every single day we hear about the UVU game last year. We wanted to come out and have a defensive effort and just show what this team is all about and what we’re capable of doing. That’s what we did tonight — we just came out and played really, really hard. We have the talent that if we work hard we can win any game.”
With an efficient offensive performance and a strong defensive effort, BYU (5-2) built an early double-digit lead and didn't let up.
While the Wolverines buried 18 3-pointers a year ago, the Cougars knocked down 12 of 26 3-pointers Wednesday while holding UVU to 1 of 8 from 3-point territory.
“We were much better defensively,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “The 3-point line was a real issue for us in last year’s game.”
The Cougars limited UVU (4-3) to 20 of 46 shooting from the field and scored 20 points off 16 Wolverine turnovers.
What was the difference in this year's game?
“The defensive mentality. We came in and said we’re going to punch them in the mouth, we’ve got to get — we call it a kill — three stops in a row,” Childs said. “We’ve got to keep on piling on kills. If we can do that, we’ll win the game. The offense will take care of itself because we’ve got a group of guys that’s really unselfish. We came in with a defensive mindset.”
BYU enjoyed great ball movement and knocked down 30 of 56 shots overall and had 25 assists.
“We were shooting the ball well from the perimeter,” Rose said. “Tonight was probably the first night where we actually shot the ball from the perimeter like I think we’re capable of shooting. Hopefully, that continues.”
Guard McKay Cannon made his BYU debut Wednesday after finding out he had become eligible by the NCAA just hours before tipoff. The Weber State transfer made his first basket, a 3-pointer, and finished with eight points and a team-high six assists.
“The open guy is the go-to guy on this team. We have a lot of good players,” Cannon said. “The best thing about is we’re all unselfish. When that ball gets moving, we’re hard to guard.”
Childs, meanwhile, produced his third consecutive double-double, his fourth of the season and the ninth of his career. The sophomore scored 18 of his points in the first half.
🎥: Yoeli Childs (@yochilds22) had a dominant game with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocked shots, 2 3-pointers and a steal in @BYUbasketball's 85-58 win over @UVUmbb pic.twitter.com/f90R7vYsZ9— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) November 30, 2017
“He hit a couple of (3-pointers). He showed a lot of all the work he put in during the summer,” Rose said of Childs. “The thing I liked the most about Yoeli was how determined he was consistently throughout the game He really grew up tonight.”
“Yoeli’s tough. That’s what Yoeli does,” Cannon said. “He competed and rebounded and scored when he had opportunities.”
UVU held a 10-9 lead in the opening minutes but BYU took control with a decisive 19-4 run that saw the Cougars seize a 28-14 advantage. During that stretch, Childs made a layup, hit a 3-pointer and scored a pair of free throws.
BYU went into the locker room at halftime with its largest lead at the time, 42-26, after Kajon Brown scored an old-fashioned 3-point play with one second left in the first half.
On the night, Cougar guard Elijah Bryant scored eight points to go along with nine rebounds and four assists and three steals.
BYU led by as many as 29 in the second half.
UVU was led by Brandon Randolph, who scored a team-high 16 points. Former Cougar Jake Toolson added 14 points and 7-footer Akolda Manyang had 11, though he ran into foul trouble in the first half.
“I don’t know if you can really shut that guy down,” Childs said of Manyang. "We were lucky to get him into foul trouble. He’s a great player. He’s hard to guard down on the block.”
BYU visits Utah State Saturday night.