Provo • Junior forward Yoeli Childs wasn’t all that impressed with the scoring milestone he reached Thursday night, but BYU basketball coach Dave Rose sure was.
Childs passed the 1,000-point plateau, becoming the 51st Cougar to do that, and BYU plastered Oral Roberts 85-65 in front of an announced crowd of 10,179 at the Marriott Center.
“Good for him. Congratulations,” Rose said, remembering when his former Houston teammates Clyde Drexler, Michael Young and Hakeem Olajuwon accomplished the feat. “You gotta be a special talent to score 1,000 points at your school. That’s a good club to be in.”
Childs, who tested the NBA draft waters last spring before returning for his third season in Provo, posted his fourth-straight double-double — 24 points and 14 rebounds — in 31 minutes, the first time he has registered four consecutive double-doubles in his career.
“It means coaches run a lot of stuff for me and my teammates pass me the ball a lot,” he said. “You get 1,000 points, that is a lot of shots, so I appreciate my guys. I think every individual accomplishment is really a team accomplishment, because you can’t do it without your guys.”
Jahshire Hardnett added 16 points and four assists and TJ Haws chipped in eight points, a career-high eight rebounds and a season-high six assists. But it was BYU’s bench guys who keyed a run in the latter part of the first half to give the Cougars control of what was a tight game the first 15 minutes.
Freshman Connor Harding was the catalyst off the bench with 10 points and five rebounds in the first 20 minutes, sophomore Rylan Bergersen scored five quick points and Gavin Baxter four.
“It was awesome, just awesome,” Childs said. “I am so happy for those guys. This is probably the deepest team I have ever played on. It is crazy. We would play pickup in the summer and you would have two captains and pick teams and I was like, ‘I have no idea who I am picking.’ There are just so many options.”
In all, BYU’s bench scored 19 points in the first half, and the Cougars took a 43-31 lead at the break. BYU used an 11-2 run to open the second half and cruised from there for its third-straight win.
Kaelen Malone and Kevin Obanor scored 12 points apiece for Oral Roberts, which dropped to 1-4 but became the first team to shoot better than 40 percent (40.3 percent) against the Cougars this year.
Baxter, the freshman returned missionary from Timpview High, was sick and missed Wednesday’s practice. Then he knocked heads with ORU’s Kerwin Smith and was able to play only 14 minutes Thursday.
“I thought Connor came in and gave us a great lift. I thought Gavin came in and helped us early,” Rose said. “I thought he did really well with the minutes he had. And I thought Ry really gave us a spark at the end of that first half. That was good to see to have those guys come in and compete and participate and get some confidence.”
ORU’s leading scorer, Emmanuel Nzekwesi, didn’t score in the first half and finished with eight. The Golden Eagles got just three second-chance points on three offensive rebounds.
“We did a good job of keeping them off the boards,” Rose said. “That’s the way we are going to have to be, and play. … Those are defensive rebounds. Those are numbers that are going to be important for us. This will be a team where our guards have got to really help us and be good defensive rebounders. In order for us to win that battle every night, our guards will have to rebound.”
That’s because the Cougars are one of the smallest teams Rose has coached in his 13 seasons. The tallest player on the team, 6-foot-10 senior center Luke Worthington, played just five minutes after starting the season as a starter.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center on Saturday to host Alabama A&M at 4 p.m.