BYU COUGARS

BYU ‘Sold Out’ On Defensive End In Victory Over LMU

Jan 4, 2020, 10:26 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm
Brigham Young Cougars forward Yoeli Childs (23) goes to the hoop ahead of Loyola Marymount Lions fo...
Brigham Young Cougars forward Yoeli Childs (23) goes to the hoop ahead of Loyola Marymount Lions forward Keli Leaupepe (34) during the game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Winning games on the defensive end has never been a calling card for BYU basketball in recent years, but this BYU team is finding different ways to win games. Including on the defensive side of the ball.

On Saturday night, BYU opened up West Coast Conference play with a victory holding the Loyola Marymount to only 38 points. The fewest points BYU has allowed in a game since giving up 33 to San Diego four years ago.

“I don’t know if it was the best defensive performance, but I do think it was a sold-out commitment to trying every single possession with the frustration that was happening on the offensive end,” said BYU coach Mark Pope on the defensive performance.

“It was great. I think we were so locked in as a team,” said Yoeli Childs. “It wasn’t about individual one-one-one defense. It was about being in the gaps, being in help and rotating, we just did such a good job playing together on the defensive end.”

To highlight BYU’s success on the defensive end, LMU had 21 turnovers to only two assists in the game. BYU only shot 42 percent from the field in the victory but held the Lions to a disjointed 34 percent.

At the half, BYU held a 24-19 lead but then started to pull away in the second half. A key stretch in the game was senior Dalton Nixon knocking down a corner three, then drawing a charge on the defensive end, followed up by a Connor Harding corner three. BYU outscored LMU by 20 in the final 20 minutes of the game.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of our team that, despite the frustration and muddiness, these guys came and competed on the defensive end every single possession. It’s a beautiful marker for this group of guys this season, and if we keep moving in that direction we have a chance to become a really good team,” said Pope.

To become a really good team Yoeli Childs and Jake Toolson will continue to lead the way for BYU. Childs had a quiet and efficient 19 points and 12 rebounds while Jake Toolson poured in 13 points, dished out four assists, and had a career-high five steals. Childs’ 19 points helped him move to ninth all-time on BYU’s career scoring list.

“You look at Jake Toolson. Jake Toolson, this kid, is remarkable. Whatever statistically category is important at the moment, he seems to fill it … his commitment was really special tonight,” said Pope. “Then the thing about Yo, Yo and I were both frustrated about his performance at the end of the Oral Roberts game. Then tonight, Scott and their whole front line is kind of chewing us up in the second half and then we switch Yo on them and it was over. He has the potential to be a special defensive player.”

Tip-Ins

Mark Pope brought the assembled media mint brownies because he is no longer able to eat them.

BYU has now won 13 of its last 14 meetings against Loyola Marymount.

Next Up

BYU will travel to Moraga, California on Thursday to take on Saint Mary’s in McKeon Pavilion.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com 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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