RENO, Nev. (ABC4 Sports) – BYU played #7 Nevada tough for most of the game, but the Wolf Pack pulled away in both team’s season opener, 86-70.
“I thought our guys really battled,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “It was a really physical game and I thought we executed our plan. It took us awhile to get our first basket, but once we got that we took the nine-point lead and got back in the game.”
Jahshire Hardnett led the Cougars with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. Yoeli Childs battled foul trouble, but still recorded his 21st career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
BYU struggled from the field, making just 37.7 percent of its shots, and just 6 of 31 attempts from 3-point range.
Nevada wasn’t much better offensively, shooting 37.9 percent from the field.
BYU shut out first team preseason All-American Caleb Martin for the first half, but Martin exploded in the second half, scoring 21 points to lead Nevada.
Jordan Carolina had 25 points and tied a career high with 16 rebounds for Nevada.
Nevada (1-0) took control from the tip-off, racing out to a 9-0 lead, forcing BYU to take a timeout.
After holding the Wolf Pack to a free throw, the Cougars got on the board just over five minutes into the game when Zac Seljaas hit a 3-pointer. Hardnett followed with a layup on the next position to cut into the Wolf Pack’s lead, 9-5.
A Childs layup and a dunk by Gavin Baxter brought the Cougars within three, 12-9, but Nevada answered with a bucket to extend its lead. McKay Cannon responded with a long shot from beyond the arc to cut the deficit to two points, 14-12, with 11:44 left in the first half.
Two points from the charity stripe was followed by a trey by TJ Haws on a fast break to give BYU its first lead of the night, 22-20, with under nine minutes to go.
Nevada went on a 14-9 run for a six-point lead with 2:36 remaining in the first half. Four-consecutive points from the line and a layup by Kolby Lee evened the game at 34-all going into halftime.
In the first half, BYU shot 31.4 percent from the field compared to the Wolf Pack’s 27 percent. Childs led the Cougars with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Childs scored the first bucket of the second half and the two teams went on to trade baskets throughout the first two minutes.
Nixon, Seljaas and Hardnett combined for nine points to give BYU a 50-47 advantage with 15:18 remaining in the game.
With 11:28 on the clock, the Wolf Pack had a 59-52 lead after going on a 10-0 run. A layup by Childs and a 3-pointer by Rylan Bergersen brought the Cougars within two, 59-57.
Nevada took control and claimed a double-digit lead at 72-61 with four and a half minutes to play and the Wolf Pack held on for the 16-point win.
The Cougars will play their home opener on Friday, Nov. 9, as they host Utah Valley in the UCCU Crosstown Clash at the Marriott Center.