Santa Clara, Calif. • After playing arguably their worst first half of basketball of the season last week at Pacific, the BYU Cougars played perhaps their best on Saturday night at Leavey Center.
The Cougars shot 79.2 percent from the field (19 of 24) and rolled out to a 46-28 lead over the Santa Clara Broncos.
Because they missed just five shots, the Cougars outrebounded the Broncos 19-2 in the first half.
Leading the way was sophomore forward Yoeli Childs, who had 17 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting. He tied his season high of six assists in the first half as well.
TJ Haws and Luke Worthington both went 3 for 3 in the half.
Santa Clara shot 42.3 percent, but was 5 of 10 from 3-point range. The Cougars were 5 of 7 from deep in the first half.
Nixon makes the trip
BYU forward Dalton Nixon, who hasn’t played since the 80-68 win over Illinois State on Dec. 6, made the trip and went through warmups, but did not play in the first half. Nixon has been out with a foot injury. Fellow big men Ryan Andrus and Braiden Shaw are also injured but did not make the trip.
BYU fans will remember how Zac Seljaas’ successful shot to in the 67-66 loss to Pacific last Saturday was a split-second late. Some might have forgotten that guard Jahshire Hardnett almost made the go-head basket about five seconds before Seljaas’ steal and basket.
“I felt like it was going in, but as I jumped it slipped out of my hand a tad and I knew I was going to throw it up at the wrong angle,” Hardnett said. “So it slipped off and we lost the game. But if you run that play back, I will definitely score it. … It was definitely a shot. I saw the 7-footer coming and I tried to bump off him, but it didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.”
One of the most difficult things to do in college sports is win a conference basketball game on the road, BYU assistant coach Heath Schroyer said Wednesday. The reason is because the home team usually has the road team scouted extremely well.
“The slippage that sometimes in preseason you can get away with, in league play you can’t,” Schroyer said. “It is like we talked to our team against Pacific. A couple timeouts we made some adjustments. And for whatever reason, we weren’t able to make those adjustments [on the court]. Going into league play, that becomes really really important, being able to have the ability to do those things.”
Former BYU strength and conditioning coach Bob Medina watched the game from the Santa Clara bench, having made the switch to a similar role with the Broncos two years ago. … The game was officiated by Glen Mayberry, Scott Brown and Rodrick Dixon. … Josip Vrankic, a freshman from Toronto who played high school basketball at Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant started for the Broncos and made their first basket.