BYU Basketball: Takeaways from the Rice blowout

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05: Yoeli Childs
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05: Yoeli Childs /

Offense was on display on Wednesday night as BYU Basketball outgunned Rice, building momentum into their key matchup against Houston on Saturday.

BYU Basketball outraced Rice in the Marriott Center on Wednesday night, putting together their best offensive game of the season.

The Cougars pulled away in the second half with the 105-78 win, ramping up their defense after the break to expand an 11-point halftime lead to a 27-point victory.

With BYU’s biggest non-conference home game coming up on Saturday against Houston, they’ve put together two dominant performances, especially on offense.

Here are the biggest takeaways from the win:

Childs Play

Yoeli Childs was a dominant force on offense, finishing with 28 points on an efficient 13-18 shooting.

Rice didn’t double-team him in the first half and he made them pay with his scoring. The Owls changed tactics after the half, but Childs found open teammates to keep the offense clicking.

Guard Efficiency

You can’t ask for a better game from BYU’s starting backcourt duo. Jashire Hardnett scored 20 points on 6-7 shooting, adding an assist and three rebounds.

TJ Haws poured 18 points on 6-9 shooting and had eight assists (with only one turnover) and four rebounds.

If one of these two has a big game the Cougars are dangerous. If both play like this BYU can compete with just about anybody.

Defensive Worries

For the most part BYU has played above-average defense so far this season, but Wednesday’s outing was far from their best defensive effort. Especially in the first half.

The Owls shot 55% from the field before the break as the Cougars allowed too much penetration and too much airspace for shooters. The second half was much better, and Rice actually finished the game slightly under their season shooting averages.

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Ball Security

BYU entered Wednesday’s game ranked No. 11 in turnovers per game, averaging only 9.4 giveaways. They were even better against Rice, only turning it over six times.

The Cougars sat at No. 42 in the nation in assists per game (17.4), and beat that against the Owls as well (23).

Put those two stats together, and BYU is a Top 10 team in the nation in assist-turnover ratio. If they can keep that up throughout the season they’ll be an offensive force.

Thawing Shooting

BYU is slowly breaking out of their extended shooting slump to begin the season. They’ve hit better than 35% from the three-point line in two straight games after only hitting better than 30% once in their first four games.

With much better teams coming up on the schedule, they’re going to have to continue shooting well if they want to continue winning.