SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – After suffering absolute heartbreak on Wednesday against Utah, the BYU basketball team bounced back at a place it has never lost.
Dalton Nixon scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Cougarsto an 83-50 victory over former conference foe UNLV at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Saturday. The Cougars are now 14-0 in that arena all-time.
“We work hard to shoot the ball,” BYU head coach Mark Pope said. “Guys were working to get other shots and were really unselfish. Our defense was super good. We handled things in transition and we really protected the rim well.”
Nixon made five of his seven attempts from the field while scoring all three of his 3-point tries to score a game-high 17 points. Yoeli Childs recorded his first double-double of the season scoring 13 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Alex Barcello and Connor Harding both reached double figures in scoring with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Barcello knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing on the first offensive possession of the game to put the Cougars on the board first. Barcello continued his strong start, finding a trailing Kolby Lee for a fast-break layup before making his second basket from behind the arc to give BYU (7-4) an 8-5 lead over UNLV (4-7).
The Cougars remained hot from distance as Harding made back-to-back treys. After a jump shot from Childs found its way into the basket, Harding scored his third 3-pointer of the half. Barcello capped off a 13-2 BYU run with a jumper to make the score 21-8 with 11:22 remaining in the period.
Nixon and Trevin Knell joined in on the Cougars’ 3-point barrage as the pair each scored from downtown. Childs added a 3-pointer of his own before throwing down a dunk to extend the Cougars’ lead to 20 points, 37-17, with 5:24 on the clock.
After a corner 3-pointer from Zac Seljaas, six BYU players had combined for nine 3s in the first half. Jake Toolson faked out a Rebel defender in the post as he hit a fadeaway jumper in the key and Barcello made a backdoor layup to help give the Cougars their largest halftime lead of the season, 46-25.
Childs had a near double-double at the break with nine points and nine boards. Barcello and Harding led both teams in scoring with 10 points apiece while TJ Haws led the team at the half with five assists – he finished with a season-high seven. BYU shot an outstanding 60.7 percent from the floor and 69.2 percent from behind the arc through the first 20 minutes.
The Cougars continued to let it fly from 3-point land as Nixon and Haws drained treys from the top of the arc to open the second half. Barcello and Seljaas each scored a transition 3-pointer of their own to make the score 58-31.
Childs scored three points the old fashioned way after converting an and-one play. Nixon scored six-straight points for BYU and Toolson spun down the lane for an easy layup to help the Cougars outscore the Rebels 13-0 to increase their lead to 71-33 with 9:13 left in the game.
UNLV answered with a run of its own, outscoring BYU 11-3 to trail the Cougars 74-44 with five minutes remaining.
Nixon closed out the final minutes making his third 3-pointer of the game and scoring a basket in the post as BYU cruised to the 83-50 victory.
The Cougars will return home to host Nevada in the Marriott Center on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m.