Yoeli Childs leads BYU basketball to exhibition win over Westminster
You can’t read too much into what happens in an exhibition game against an overmatched opponent – but it’s hard to have a much better game than BYU sophomore forward Yoeli Childs had Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
Childs was nearly flawless in the 76-62 Cougar win over Westminster as he scored 25 points on an incredible 11-of-13 shooting (including draining both of his 3-point attempts). He also tacked on 14 rebounds and two blocks in his 24 minutes of action.
“That was one of the real bright spots for us,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “Guys early in the game realized how he was being guarded and they were able to get get it in to him. Then he was really good in one-on-one situations and was able to finish.”
Childs got all of the 10,951 fans in attendance on their feet early in the game when on two occasions Cougar sophomore guard TJ Haws drifted toward the basket, then lobbed the ball softly toward the rim. Both times Childs went, gathered the ball in with one hand and slammed it home.
The sophomore explained that those moments are big because of the psychological impact they have on a defense.
“I look at the big picture,” Childs said. “No one likes getting dunked on so they start cheating in. Then you can skip it across. It helps space the floor.”
Rose said that understanding the opponent’s mentality is big for the Cougars to be able to be effective.
“They started bringing guys in and we started hitting the corners,” Rose said. “A big part of our execution is making plays based on what a defense is going to give us.”
The two alley-oops came during the early BYU surge as the Cougars raced out to a 32-10 lead, thanks in part to the BYU defensive effort.
“We showed good things but it is all about consistency for us,” Childs said. “It’s still Nov. 1 and we are locking in on things we need to be doing. We locked in and kept them from scoring for eight minutes in the first half but weren’t as locked in in the second half.”
The visiting Griffins trailed by as many as 23 points but made a push late in the second half to cut the BYU advantage to 10 at 70-60.
The Cougars responded with a pair of 3-pointers from Zac Seljaas and Elijah Bryant to extend the lead again and secure the victory.
Overall, Rose said he was pleased how his team played and believes there were some good lessons for his guys.
“This was really good for our team,” Rose said. “ I’ve known Westminster head coach Norm Parrish for years and he is a really good coach, a coach who controls tempo and is physical. That was our battle tonight. For the most part there was a lot of good things out there but we fouled way too much. We didn’t guard their screens as well as we have. We seemed like we might have been a step slow. We also played a lot of guys but with how exhibitions go, this was one that will really help us.”
There were still some concerns, however, as BYU finished with 13 turnovers and were just 19-of-31 from the foul line.
“We are figuring out what we are struggling with,” Bryant said. “We have to eliminate turnovers, have to hone in on that. We will work on it in practice.”
Rose said that many of the miscues came because guys are aggressive and were trying to force things that weren’t there.
“We need to have counterpunch mindset, to know what we are going to get because of what they do,” Rose said.
A number of former Utah Valley high school basketball players are now competing for the Griffins and played well during their visit to Provo.
Former American Fork star Quincy Bair – now a senior -- had a solid game for Westminster, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the first half on his way to a team-high 17 points for the game.
Another ex-Caveman, senior Mason Smith, also played a lot of minutes for the Griffins (11 points) while former Payson star Tanner Newbold (four points) also saw some action.
Westminster also featured senior Dayon Goodman, who was at UVU earlier in his career, and junior Enis Winder, who is the cousin of former Cougar Anson Winder.
BYU now prepares to face Colorado College in their final exhibition game on Nov. 8 before the regular season begins on Nov. 11 against Mississippi Valley State.