BYU’s recovery period following its come-from-ahead loss to rival Utah officially lasted a little less than three days.
The Cougars used a barrage of three-pointer and Yoeli Childs’ double-double to post a blowout 83-50 victory over former Mountain West rival UNLV on Saturday at Vivint SmartHome Arena.
The victory was made even sweeter considering last year's loss to UNLV, when the Rebels hit a last-second three pointer to edge out BYU, 92-90.
"We try to take every game with the same amount of seriousness and we try to go and win every game, obviously, but it feels really good to be able to come back and win after a loss,” Childs said. “I think that’s something a great team can do, is bounce back from losses and come out and play together like that.”
Childs scored 29 points in his season debut against the Utes, but left late in the game with an undisclosed injury and was listed as day-to-day going into Saturday. He roared back with 13 points and 14 rebounds against the Rebels.
BYU coach Mark Pope said he sat our Childs the last few days of practice and wasn’t sure if he’d have the 6-foot-8 forward play more than a few minutes against the Rebels. But Childs, who said he was had cramping in both calves at the Huntsman Center, proved to be up for the task.
“We were very precautionary in terms of — they had me drinking like crazy, oh my gosh,” Childs said. “I had pickle juice before, did all that crazy stuff and heat packs. So, I felt good. I think it’s all behind me.”
Three other Cougars also scored in double digits — Dalton Nixon led BYU with a career-best 17 points, while Alex Barcello added 13 and Connor Harding scored 12.
Harding’s three consecutive three-pointers essentially broke the game open early.
BYU went on to shoot 17 of 28 field goals and 9 of 13 from beyond the 3-point line for a 46-25 halftime lead.
The Cougars’ hot long-distance shooting finally cooled off in the second half, with BYU making only 5 of 14 in the final 20 minutes. Still, seven different players hit from deep.
“We have shooters across the board and so, we all trust each other,” Nixon said. “I was fortunate enough to find myself in some open spots tonight to be able to knock down threes, but we all trust each other. I trust my teammates. We have three-point shooters on the floor all the time.”
While TJ Haws was held single-digits for the second consecutive game (seven points), the senior guard was able to contribute with seven assists. Haws also made some big perimeter passes to get his teammates set up.
Dalton believes playing in the home of the Jazz may have contributed to Haws’ — and the team’s — play. Just like it always does. BYU has only lost once at Vivint Arena since it started playing annually here 14 years ago.
“Big arena, big floor — that’s what it felt like tonight,” Nixon said. “And especially having Yoeli back, he really creates a lot of attention. When we can space the floor like that, we can make plays for each other and that’s what we did tonight.”
Utah transfer Donnie Tillman led UNLV with 13 points. The Rebels fell to 4-7 with the loss.
Altogether it was an impressive bounce-back for the Cougars, who fell to the Utes in 102-95 on Wednesday at the Huntsman Center in overtime after leading most of the game. After a long absence, BYU finally returns to the Marriott Center Tuesday to host Nevada.