BYU Basketball: Cougars survive late push from Toreros for Senior Night win

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images) /
BYU Basketball  – MARCH 05: Dalton Nixon (Getty Images)
BYU Basketball  – MARCH 05: Dalton Nixon (Getty Images) /

It was a good thing that BYU led by 20 points in the second half because they needed all of it to hold off the Toreros late.

Provo, UT – Fans started to hold their breath as a 20-point lead began to evaporate in the second half and dropped as low as 6 points before the defense kicked into gear and free throws were made to extend the lead to 14.

Looking at the box score after the fact, you would think that BYU simply coasted to an easy victory, but that is far from the truth. BYU controlled the pace for most of the game with a solid shooting night at 51.1% from the floor and 42.1% from behind the arc but, San Diego stayed within striking distance and made a move late in the game going on a 12 to 4 run starting around 5:44 left in the game. The Cougars finished the game shooting 40 free throws and making 31.

A big, and scary moment happened late in the game as T.J Haws curled hard around a screen and collided hard with Isaiah Wright and both players hit the ground with apparent head injuries. After a moment on the floor, both players were helped off and Yoeli Childs stepped up to the line and hit two big free throws that helped the Cougars seal the victory. Childs finished with 29 points and 13 rebounds and went 14-19 from the line for a career high in free throw attempts.

Haws chipped in 26 points, and returned to the game post-collision, while Nick Emery had a great shooting night hitting 3 threes on his way to a 15.

On this senior night, BYU had two seniors suited up for the first time in 3 years, Luke Worthington and McKay Cannon. Luke will continue with the Cougar’s next year on staff while McKay hopes to stay as close to the program as he can.

The significance of this game was lessened thanks to an LMU victory over San Francisco to help BYU to the #3 seed in the WCC tournament. The Cougars will play one of three teams; Portland, Santa Clara or San Diego. BYU also, with the loss of Saint Mary’s to Gonzaga, will tie for second in the WCC for the regular season. The Cougars next game will be next Saturday, March 9.

Game Notes:

  • Yoeli Childs in two games vs. San Diego scored 56 points and pulled 25 rebounds
  • Since joining the WCC in 2011, BYU has never been lower than a #3 seed in the WCC Tournament
  • The win actually tied the Cougars for 2nd place in the WCC, but the tiebreaker went to Saint Mary’s.
  • Dave Rose picked up his 200th win at home.