PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It was nice to be home for BYU.
Playing in their first home game since December 12th, the Cougars pulled away from Portland at the Marriott Center, 79-56.
Yoeli Childs scored 28 points to go along with 12 rebounds, as BYU improved to 10-8 overall, 2-1 in the West Coast Conference.
“It’s good to be home,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I think our guys came out with great focus and energy. I thought we played the first 10 minutes as well as we’ve played all year long.”
Childs made 9 of 13 shots and added three assists. McKay Cannon tallied 11 points with four boards, three assists and four steals. Off the bench, BYU put up 24 points, including eight points from Zac Seljaas and seven from Rylan Bergersen.
“I think these last few practices have been our best practices of the year, Childs said. “I think it’s just something where, there’s adversity in life and life is all about how you deal with the adversity that’s handed to you. I think our team has done a really good job of staying positive, staying together and just playing for each other. I think that’s going to give us a lot of success through the end of the year.”
Point guard Jahshire Hardnett, who reportedly was going to transfer before deciding to rejoin the team, was in uniform, but did not play.
The Cougars quickly took control of the game, going up 20-4 with an 18-0 run. A Childs dunk gave BYU its first points of the game, and Childs, Harding, Cannon and Emery all drained 3-pointers as part of the 18-0 run.
After Zac Seljaas nailed a 3-pointer of his own and Gavin Baxter make a layup, BYU took their biggest lead of the half with a 19-point margin at 25-6.
Portland answered with a 10-3 run to bring the score to 28-16. Late in the first half, the Pilots caught fire and cut the deficit to three, 33-30, after dropping three treys and a layup. Rylan Bergersen capped the first half sinking a 3-pointer, putting BYU up 36-30 going into halftime.
To start the second half, the Cougars quickly put up six points to increase its lead back to 13 points. Childs kept the momentum going converting 12-straight BYU points, making the score 53-41.
BYU went on an 11-2 run that started with Seljaas netting a trey and included TJ Haws scoring his first points of the game with a pair of free throws, followed by a layup and a jumper, putting the score at 67-45.
With just over six minutes to go in the game, the Cougars took their largest led of the night, going up 24 points with the score at 69-45. BYU tallied a six-point run late in the game, making the final score 79-54.
BYU returns to the Marriott Center Saturday, Jan. 12, to take on Santa Clara at 7 p.m.