Bryant and Childs carry Cougars past Pepperdine in bounce-back win


BYU sophomore Yoeli Childs looks to pass the ball in BYU’s 83-63 win over Pepperdine. Childs earned a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds; he also added six assists. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

After a series of close-call games, BYU got a break with a solid 20-point win over Pepperdine Thursday night.

BYU bounced back from Saturday’s loss to beat Pepperdine 83-63 in the Marriott Center.

While nine of BYU’s 10 players scored, BYU junior Elijah Bryant and BYU sophomore Yoeli Childs carried the majority of the Cougars’ offense. The two combined for more than half of the Cougars points, 46 points totaled together. Bryant led the team in scoring with 25 points while Childs tallied a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, adding six assists on the side.

“(Childs) continues to improve in every aspect of his game,” said BYU head coach Dave Rose. … “As a rebounder, as a scorer, as a facilitator, I think he just understands the game more. … It really makes you difficult to guard when your post guy can pass that way.”

Throughout the season, BYU has focused on team, attesting that no one player will consistently lead its offense. However, Bryant and Childs have risen as the most consistent players. Childs still stands by the repeated goal to not have one shining star during the 2017-18 season.

[pullquote]“(Childs) continues to improve in every aspect of his game. … “As a rebounder, as a scorer, as a facilitator, I think he just understands the game more. … It really makes you difficult to guard when your post guy can pass that way.” — Dave Rose, BYU head coach[/pullquote]

“Every player on our team is a great offensively,” Childs said. “One night TJ (Haws) is going to come out and drop 30. One night Zac (Seljaas) might come out and drop 25. We try to take what the defense gives us. Lately, it just happens to be me and Eli getting the most looks. If you look at the field goal percentages, if you look at who’s shooting the most, me and Eli are shooting the most shots, so if you give other guys the opportunity to take that many shots, they’re going to score that many points.”

Rose attributes the wider spread scoring to offensive changes that focus 0n creating more space, which is one of the reasons BYU sophomore Zac Seljaas started in place of junior Luke Worthington for the first time this season in conference play.

“I think we spread them out pretty good,” Rose said. “I thought we were pretty patient with our concepts as far as going from side to side. We changed a little bit on our actual transition offense to just get a little bit more space on the floor so our guards could attack a little bit more and I thought that that helped us.”

After a slow first half, which included four lead changes, BYU went into the locker room at halftime leading 40-34. It wasn’t until the Cougars settled into a comfortable 20-point lead that the players on the bench started contributing more on offense.

BYU sophomore TJ Haws scored 10 points, getting into the double-digit scoring for the first time since BYU’s win over Texas Southern on Dec. 23, 2017. Both junior McKay Cannon and Seljaas contributed eight points. Seljaas even scored his first 3-pointer in conference play. The last time Seljaas scored a three in a game was against Texas Southern on Dec. 23, 2017.

BYU (14-4, 3-2 WCC) travels to Santa Clara on Saturday for its next conference matchup. The game, which begins at 8 p.m. MST, will be broadcast on BYUtv.

Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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