BYU holds off Pacific in WCC opener, 90-87

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STOCKTON, Calif. (ABC4 Sports) – It wasn’t easy, but BYU finally won a road game, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

BYU, which blew a 21-point first half lead, held off Pacific down the stretch to win its West Coast Conference opener, 90-87.

TJ Haws led the offense with 24 points and six assists while hitting 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Jahshire Hardnett came off the bench and tallied 17 points and one rebound. Yoeli Childs contributed a double-double after scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Childs added two assists and one block. Luke Worthington went 3 of 3 from the field for a total of eight points.

“It was a hard matchup for us because of personnel,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “Pulling off the win is one that I will remember. It was a team win which makes it feel so much better because there are a lot of guys that are going to walk out with a little bit of a hop to their step and a little more confident in their ability to play and to help.”

Childs scored the first bucket of the night, draining a 3-pointer and Haws added a jumper to give the Cougars an early 5-0 lead one minute into the game.

McKay Cannon hit two treys to aid BYU’s comfortable lead, 13-4, with 15:34 on the clock in the first half.

The Cougars continued to shoot lights out, recording 91 percent from the field on 10 of 11 shooting and five of six from the 3-point line to give BYU a 26-10 advantage with just under 12 minutes to go.

With nine minutes on the clock, the Tigers brought the game back to single digits, 28-19. Back-to-back buckets from beyond the arc by Hardnett and Nick Emery extended the lead to 18 points, 41-23, and 5:28 remaining until halftime.

A trey by Zac Seljaas and a dunk by Dalton Nixon gave the Cougars their largest lead of the night, 46-25. Pacific brought the game within 12 points, 49-37, as the two teams went into the locker rooms for halftime. 

In the first half, BYU shot 60 percent from the field compared to the Tigers’ 39.3 percent. Haws led all scorers with 14 points while Childs added nine and grabbed five rebounds.

The second half began with a bucket by Pacific as the Tigers brought the game within eight. Seven straight points by Worthington kept the Cougars on top 63-51 with 14 minutes remaining in the game.

Pacific went on a 13-4 run to even the game at 67-all and 7:40 on the clock. The two teams exchanged baskets over the following possessions but the Tigers never took the lead until 3:12 was left on the clock and Pacific went one for two from the charity stripe.

With 2:44 remaining, Haws answered with a deep three from the top of the key to give the lead back to BYU, 81-79.

Hardnett gave the Cougars an 86-84 lead after hitting both free throws with 47 seconds on the clock, forcing the Tigers to call a timeout.

Emery converted two points at the line to give BYU a 90-87 lead with 13 seconds on the clock and the Cougars played strong defense to keep Pacific from scoring at the buzzer.

On the game, BYU shot 51.9 percent from the field, 44 percent from three and 63.9 percent from the line. The Tigers recorded 53.8 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and 81 percent from the charity stripe.

BYU continues WCC action on the road at Saint Mary’s on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 9 p.m. 

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