Las Vegas • After hammering home a dunk with two seconds remaining to seal an 85-79 victory that made some people in this town extremely happy and some not so thrilled by the meaningless final dagger, BYU big man Yoeli Childs looked at the stat sheet and slapped teammate Elijah Bryant on the back.
“Elijah was just a beast out there,” Childs exclaimed.
Sure enough, BYU’s leading scorer delivered one of his best games as a Cougar, scoring 27 points and grabbing four rebounds before fouling out with just over three minutes remaining while trying to fight through a screen.
“It is not a surprise, it is just kinda crazy. Ten for 13, three for four [from 3-point range], 27 points in 26 minutes,” Childs said, after scoring 22 points and grabbing eight rebounds himself. “I just love watching him, just seeing the things he does. He was looking like LeBron James, attacking the rim and finishing. Man, I am just so proud of my guy right here.”
The performance was redemptive for Bryant, who was 4 of 14 from the field and 2 of 10 from 3-point range in BYU’s 75-62 loss at San Diego two weeks ago. Childs also recovered nicely after fouling out at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Feb. 17 with just eight points in 22 minutes.
“I think coaches really emphasized in practice the physicality that they come with, and we did a lot of drills to prepare us for that physicality in case we didn’t get the foul called,” said Bryant, who was 4 of 6 from the free-throw line. “So, that’s how we prepared for them this time.”
The Cougars were 24 of 32 from the line in a rugged game that featured 51 fouls. TJ Haws also fouled out for BYU after scoring 13 points and making seven important free throws.
“Getting to the free-throw line has been really big for our offense,” BYU coach Dave Rose said.
The Cougars were cruising along when Bryant canned back-to-back triples to give them a 60-43 lead, but USD senior Cameron Neubauer hit his third 3-pointer to spark the comeback and the Toreros tied it about eight minutes later.
“I am proud of our guys for the way they hung in there and finished it off when they made a run at us,” Rose said. “We were consistently aggressive. We got ourselves in a little bit of foul trouble, but I am proud of the way our group made plays and we were able to finish off the game with a big win.”