PROVO — Earlier this week, BYU coach Dave Rose decided to move guard Nick Emery into the starting lineup in place of freshman Connor Harding, who had started 14 consecutive games.
In the Cougars’ 69-59 victory over Pacific Saturday night at the Marriott Center, Harding came off the bench and scored 13 points, including a career-best three 3-pointers, in 26 minutes of action.
“I thought Connor had a tremendous game and a great response to a lineup change,” said coach Dave Rose. “He gave us great energy off the bench.”
With 42 seconds left in the first half, Harding drilled a three in the corner — and was knocked down in the process but no foul was called — to give the Cougars a 33-30 advantage at halftime.
“I’ve known Connor for a while now. We played AAU (basketball) for a couple of years. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a team guy that he is,” forward Yoeli Childs said of Harding. “He’s always in the gym getting extra shots up. He’s always locked in mentally. Whatever the coaching staff asks of him, he’s going to do. If you tell him, ‘you’re coming off the bench,’ he’s going to give it 100 percent. If he's starting, he’s going to give it 100 percent. If his job is to lock somebody up, he’s giving 100 percent. I couldn’t be more proud of this guy. And I’m so happy that I get to play with him.”
Harding said he simply took advantage of his opportunities to contribute.
“It’s all about competing, especially against Pacific. When you play against guys that drive to the hoop, people are going to get into foul trouble and your opportunity is going to come. I just had to mentally prepare myself,” he said. “They focus on TJ (Haws) and Yoeli so much. We run certain plays for them. … It’s TJ reading the play and putting me in situations where I can score.”
HARDNETT OUT AGAIN: Guard Jahshire Hardnett injured his left hand during last Thursday’s win at Portland and did not play. Hardnett’s hand, which he had injured the first time in early January, was heavily wrapped.1 comment on this story
“We’ll probably know more Monday (about Hardnett’s status),” Rose said. “He’ll have an MRI taken and try to see where the inflammation’s coming from and try to get the swelling out of it. He’s probably has as much if not more pain than when he injured it four or five weeks ago.”
TIP-INS: Childs recorded his 14th double-double this season and 34th of his career. He is now tied with Alan Taylor for fourth all-time in BYU history for career double-doubles … Gavin Baxter has 21 blocks this season. He’s tied with Mekeli Wesley for 10th-most blocks by a Cougar freshman … 400 pounds of bacon was provided for BYU fans Saturday night.