PROVO — No doubt, BYU fans enjoy watching Yoeli Childs dunk and Elijah Bryant bury 3-pointers.
But if you ask the Cougars, when they’re playing their best, they’re playing good defense.
After a relatively close first half, BYU pulled away from Pepperdine with an impressive defensive performance in the second half that resulted in a 83-63 victory Thursday night before a crowd of 13,223 at the Marriott Center.
Bryant poured in a game-high 25 points and hit 5 of 8 3-pointers while Childs scored 21 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and dished out six assists.
But Childs knows why his team was able to rebound from last Saturday’s disappointing 67-66 loss at Pacific and tame the Waves.
“Defense, as always. I say that every time but it’s defense,” he said. “In the first half we had one kill (three defensive stops in a row). In the second half we had four or maybe five. Our defense leads to our offense and when we guard, things go well. In the first half, we were shooting the ball pretty well but a lot of times that doesn’t last for the full 40 minutes.”
With the win, BYU improved to 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the West Coast Conference while the Waves fell to 3-14 and 0-5.
Pepperdine shot 56 percent (14 of 25) in the first half but managed to shoot just 40 percent (10 of 25) over the final 20 minutes.
“We did a good job. It’s all about defense. In the first half, I thought we had an okay mentality,” said guard TJ Haws, who scored in double figures (10 points) for the first time in WCC play this season. “But in the second half our mentality on both ends of the floor was really good. In league, it’s all about making adjustments and I thought we did a good job tonight.
“A huge thing for us is having a chip on our shoulders,” Haws added. “When we come out and we’re aggressive on defense and we’re talking and helping each other and defending as a team, I think we’re really good. This year, we’ve shown that when we defend together, we can beat anyone. It’s all about our mindset.”
BYU shot a blistering 58 percent from the field — 61 percent in the first half and 56 percent in the second half. Bryant was 8 of 12 and Childs was 8 of 11.
From an offensive standpoint, it’s all about …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News