PROVO — BYU’s Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws have been pretty consistent this season when it comes to scoring.
Childs is averaging 22.3 points per game while Haws is averaging 17.7. But finding a consistent third scorer has been a struggle for the Cougars.
Guard Jahshire Hardnett is No. 3 on the team in scoring, averaging 10.9 points, but he has missed the past four games due to a hand injury. Coach Dave Rose said he considers Hardnett “day-to-day.”
In last Thursday’s victory at Pepperdine, Haws scored a career-high 34 points, Childs added 20, and freshman Gavin Baxter chipped in a career-high 13.
But in the Cougars’ loss at San Francisco two days later, Childs finished with 25 points after scoring just six in the first half. Haws had 12 and McKay Cannon had nine, going 3 for 3 from 3-point range.
Asked last week about having a third consistent scorer, Rose said, “There’s guys that feel a lot of pressure on the team to be that guy. I just hope we can find one that can consistently contribute and help us.
"I believe that a lot of what Yoeli and TJ are doing as far as their consistent offensive nights can free up another two or three guys," Rose continued. "That could really help us. As far as concerned? I would say yes.”
Many believed guard Nick Emery, who was suspended for the first nine games of the season and returned to the team in early December, might be that third offensive threat. Emery averaged 13.1 points as a sophomore in 2016-17. But he’s averaging just five points per game this year.
“Nick’s mindset coming in was to just find ways to help the team, anything he had to do. He’s taken that more on the defensive end,” Rose said. “I don’t think that the pressure for him to score is what he really needs personally. It might help us, but his ability is to help our team in all ways that seem to fit naturally. I don’t think any of our coaches, or Nick, are in a position to try to increase Nick’s participation on the offensive end. Let’s see how it develops.”
POSTSEASON HOPES: Before the season tipped off, BYU had its sights on returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. But now, the Cougars (12-9, 4-2) aren’t even projected to get into the National Invitation Tournament.
BYU has played in the NIT the past three seasons, but it could miss out on that postseason tournament this year. The Cougars are also in jeopardy of not winning at least 20 games in a season for the first time in Rose’s 14 years at the helm.
BYU hosts Saint Mary’s Thursday (9 p.m. MST, ESPN2) and No. 4 Gonzaga on Jan. 31.23 comments on this story
WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: San Francisco guard Frankie Ferrari earned West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors. Despite suffering from strep throat, Ferrari led the Dons to a 2-0 record last week. He averaged 14 points per game, dished out 4.5 assists, shot 47.8 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point territory.
In USF’s 82-63 win over BYU, Ferrari scored a season-high 21 points, including 18 in the second half. He made 8 of 11 shots from the floor and 4 of 6 from the 3-point line.