Provo • Two Top 20 3-point-shooting teams entered the Marriott Center on Tuesday, but while Nevada had the better individual 3-point shooter in Jazz Johnson, BYU had the better long-distance shooting team.
And the Cougars out-shot the Wolf Pack from beyond the arc, making 12 3-pointers to three for their guests, on their way to their second-consecutive dominating performance, beating Nevada 75-42.
Four different Cougars teamed up to make the 12 3-pointers, while two of Nevada’s came from Lindsey Drew. BYU has made 10 or more three-pointers in five-straight games for a school record.
Alex Barcello said taking those long-distance shots are important for the Cougars' offense.
“We obviously don't want to rely on it, but we know we're a team full of great shooters, so we definitely want to keep shooting at a high clip, Barcello said.
The Cougars' defensive performance led Nevada to a season-low score and snapped the Wolf Pack's five-game winning streak.
BYU also did it while shooting well below its averages. The Cougars shot 41.2% on field goals and 32.4% from long distance. Before Tuesday, BYU was shooting 49.4% and 42.0%, respectively.
“We talked about that at halftime, about how exciting it was to have a chance to win a game a different way – because that's what good teams do,” coach Mark Pope said. “Good teams find all kinds of different ways to win a game. Against UNLV, we won a game because we made every shot the whole night.”
The biggest threats to BYU were Johnson, who came to Provo averaging 3.7 3-pointers a game, and Jalen Harris, who scored a career-high 31 points in the Wolf Pack’s last game at Air Force. But the Cougars allowed Johnson to make only one shot from beyond the arc and held Harris to 15 points.
“(Johnson) didn't really get the shots he's accustomed to getting tonight,” Pope said. “Our guys did a great job in the floppy actions, they did a great job in the chin re-screen actions … he wasn't getting shots that he was comfortable with for the most part.”
After the teams traded missed shots after tip-off, Barcello got the scoring started with a 3-pointer from the left corner. It was almost a case of déjà vu. Barcello hit the same shot at the start of the UNLV game three days prior.
“I just love to bring energy to the table and luckily my teammate found me for a wide open shot and I was able to knock it down and get the momentum going,” Barcello said.
While the game stayed close throughout the first few minutes, BYU started pulling away after senior TJ Haws hit his first 3-pointer of the game for an 8-5 lead. From there, the Cougars went on an 11-2 run to distance themselves from the Wolf Pack.
Once again, sophomore Connor Harding came in off the bench and immediately added to BYU's production with back-to-back baskets – a 3-pointer and a finger-roll layup along the baseline.
While Yoeli Childs made his 2019-20 season debut two games prior, this was the senior’s first time playing at home this year. And Nevada made it hard on him at first.
Childs kept finding himself double- and triple-teamed in the paint and struggled to find the basket from deep – or even from the line. In the first half, Childs missed all seven field goal attempts and two free throw attempts.
Yet, Childs was able to flip the script in the second half.
The 6-foot-8 forward scored shortly after coming back from halftime with fast-break layup and nailed his two free throws after drawing a foul on the next possession. By the end, Childs posted his second double-double of the season and finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
“I saw greatness,” Jake Toolson said. “That's the sign of a great player, being able to respond. And he fought through the frustration. In the first half he had zero points, but he was getting guys so many open looks. Everything he was doing out there you might not see on the stat sheet, but he was helping us get great looks. And then in the second half, it was only a matter of time.”
Five Cougars scored in the double digits. Along with Childs, Toolson scored a team-high 15 points, Barcello added 13, Haws scored 11 and Harding finished with 10 points.
Dalton Nixon and Kolby Lee each finished with six points, and added 10 and eight rebounds, respectively. In total, the Cougars outrebounded their opponent 49-37.
Nevada's bad shooting was highlighted when K.J. Hymes was left wide open in the paint and missed an uncontested dunk. The Wolf Pack was held to 24.6% field goal shooting.
The Cougars added a late 11-0 run before the final media timeout and, when the team took to the court again, all of BYU's starters were on the bench.
With 13 seconds left, senior Evan Troy brought down a defensive rebound, looked to the student section and started singing along to Steam's “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” along with hundreds of students.
BYU will next face Utah State in the second annual Beehive Classic, Saturday at 6 p.m.