BYU Responds From Utah Setback With Blowout Win Over UNLV

Dec 7, 2019, 3:34 PM | Updated: 8:08 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – After an emotional loss earlier in the week to rival Utah, BYU returned to Salt Lake City on Saturday to host a former conference rival in UNLV at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

BYU’s second trip up north this week to Salt Lake played out a lot better for the Cougars than their first visit as BYU rolled to a dominating 83-50 victory over the Rebels.

“The most important thing for us was the guys’ attention to the defensive end and that was really crucial for us in responding to the debacle that we had,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope on the win over UNLV.

Leading up to tip-off there was speculation as to whether or not, forward Yoeli Childs would play against the Rebs. Childs missed the past two days of practice and was a game-time decision. Pope wasn’t sure if Childs was going to be able to play. Childs ended up playing and was in the starting lineup where he was a tone-setter on the glass.

Childs had his 38th career double-double scoring 13 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. A season-high by a BYU player for rebounds in a game this year. Throughout the game, Childs drank pickle juice to avoid any further cramps.

With Childs handling the post, BYU’s explosive offense went to work, especially from three-point range.

BYU knocked down 14 three-pointers and shot 52 percent from three-point range for the game and a blistering 69 percent from deep in the first half. The 14 three-pointers is fourth all-time for most threes in a single game by a BYU team.

“We make shots, it’s what we do. We do that. I don’t think we were surprised by it. I don’t know if we shoot 69 percent normally, but we work hard to shoot the ball and guys were earning each other’s shots,” said Mark Pope.

Last season, BYU lost to UNLV at T-Mobile Arena after giving up a 17-point lead. That wasn’t the case this year as BYU had a 21-point lead at the half and then stepped on the gas in the second half getting up by 38 points at one point.

It was a dominating performance against a UNLV program that back in the day gave BYU headaches whenever the two met as Mountain West Conference foes. Saturday’s 33-point win was BYU’s largest in program history against the Rebels. The previous high was a 28-point win at the Marriott Center in 2001.

Four BYU players scored in double-figures with senior Dalton Nixon leading all scorers with 17 points. The Cougars entire bench put in 42 points to UNLV’s 12.

“Our first unit and second unit blur,” Pope said. “This Dalton Nixon is playing out of his mind … he’s every bit a first unit guy. This Connor Harding is playing first unit minutes and Zac Seljaas has been a starter for a long time. So we’re really fortunate to have veterans coming off the bench like that.”

Next Up

BYU is now 7-4 overall on the season and will host another Mountain West Conference team on Tuesday in the Nevada Wolf Pack coached by former New Mexico and UCLA head man Steve Alford.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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