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BYU Men’s Hoops: Hardnett to Childs for game-winner against UMass

November 26, 2017 GMT

BYU picked a really good time to find its offensive execution.

Jahshire Hardnett fed Yoeli Childs for the game-winning dunk with four seconds to play in Saturday’s 68-66 victory against UMass in the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sure, the final play was a solid piece of execution, but the Cougars really put themselves in a position to win the game with a big surge in the final four minutes, recovering from a 10-point deficit with a 17-5 burst down the stretch.

“In the first half, our effort was determined by if we were playing good or not, which was just totally unacceptable,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in his post-game radio interview. “That’s totally unacceptable if you’re going to have a good team. The challenge to the fellas at halftime was that your effort has to be sustained by your will and your determination, not how you’re playing. And that’s where we won the game.”

A 3-point play by UMass center Rashaan Holloway tied the game at 66-all with 13.7 seconds remaining. After a time out, Hardnett motored around a Payton Dastrup screen at the top of the key, penetrating deep into the paint. He drew two defenders and dished to Childs, who threw down a two-handed dunk with four seconds to go. A desperation 3-pointer by UMass was short and the Cougars earned their victory.

“I came to the high ball screen, and I popped,” Dastrup said. “Jahshire came off the screen and Yoeli stayed down low on the baseline like he was supposed to. Jashire being the player he is demands the double team and dumped it off. As soon as I see Yoeli get it and gather, I knew it was going to be sent in with some force.”

Childs finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks for BYU (4-2), and Elijah Bryant scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half. Hardnett totaled 10 points, two assists and two steals. It was a tough shooting afternoon for the Cougars, which hit just 36 percent (24 of 66) from the field and 4 of 18 (22 percent) from the 3-point line.

But there were other statistics that proved to be important.

“We won the game with 19 offensive rebounds, with 10 steals, with six blocks and 36 percent from field,” Rose said. “That’s pretty impressive that the guys were able to get that done. It was all effort and execution in the second half sustained over a long period of time.”

Childs started the game like he wanted to own it, scoring the first seven points for the Cougars, blocking a shot and dishing out an assist as BYU jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first 3:30. Childs made a 3-pointer – the first of his career – and dominated on the interior.

But just as quickly as they earned the lead, the Cougars lost it. UMass started finding its shooting range and eventually led 18-17 on a 3-point play midway through the first half.

BYU’s offense hit the snooze bar and went more than six minutes without a basket, making just two field goals in the final nine minutes of the half. The Minutemen hit consecutive 3-pointers to lead 30-20 with 5:32 to play in the half and took that ten point lead (38-28) at the break.

UMass maintained the lead and it was 61-51 on a 3-pointer by Carl Pierre with 4:38 to play. Suddenly, the Cougars found some offensive execution that had eluded them most of the game. An 11-0 run, with a big 3-pointer from Bryant, seized the lead for BYU at 62-61 with 2:01 remaining.

Holloway scored inside for a 63-61 UMass lead with 1:07 remaining, but Dastrup followed up a Childs miss with 52 seconds to play to put BYU back up 64-63. Dastrup then keyed a good defensive possession for the Cougars, pressuring his man into a turnover that Bryant recovered. Bryant connected on two free throws with 21.6 to play for a 66-63 advantage, but Holloway responded with a 3-point play with 13.7 seconds left to tie the game at 66.

Then came Hardnett’s feed to Childs for the game-winner.

“In the end we were able to make a big play late,” Rose said. “Jashsire made a huge play. It was a great call from Coach (assistant head coach Heath Schroyer) on that pick and roll. That big guy stepped up and Jahshire just naturally hits Yo, and that’s an easy finish for Yo.”

Holloway led UMass (3-3) with 16 points and eight rebounds and Malik Hines added 10 points. The team’s leading scorer, Luwane Pipkins, was averaging better than 21 points per game coming in but finished with just nine on 1 of 12 from the field.

“To be out here out on the east coast far from home just wanting to go home at least 1-1, we played with intensity and executed the way we know we can,” said Dastrup, who contributed four points, five rebounds and two blocks in 11 minutes. “We wanted to come out and show Cougar Nation what we’re made of.”

BYU will take on Utah Valley at the UCCU Center on Wednesday and faces another in-state rival, Utah State, in Logan on Saturday.