BYU Men’s Hoops: Cougars pound Colorado College in final exhibition
It’s not often BYU fans can look up at the Marriott Center scoreboard and see the home team with a 62-point lead, even in an exhibition game.
That’s what happened Wednesday as the Cougars destroyed Division II Colorado College 95-35. Relevant statistics: Sophomore Zac Seljaas made six 3-pointers and led BYU with 19 points. Sophomore Yoeli Childs recorded another double-double – 11 points and 17 rebounds – and was one of five players in double figures. That included sophomore T.J. Haws (13 points), junior Elijah Bryant (12 points, nine rebounds) and junior Jahshire Hardnett (11 points). The Cougars outrebounded the Tigers 55-24 and made 13 3-point shots.
Much more important news from Wednesday was that BYU coach Dave Rose announced Bryant and junior Luke Worthington had been named team captains.
For a team with no seniors, the team vote sat fine with Rose.
“These guys are experienced guys,” Rose said. “You’re talking about Luke, who played here two years and on a team that qualified for the NCAA tournament. Luke’s a natural leader. He’s well-rounded and understands a lot more than just basketball. The young guys can really learn from him. Eli has the same type of experience. He’s a little older. He sat out a (redshirt) year, played at another school in another league and went through a difficult injury. The guys voted, and I wanted them to vote for upperclassmen.”
Worthington returned from his LDS mission to Chile this spring and Bryant began his career at Elon College.
“I’m really excited that I’ve been able to garner some respect from my teammates,” Worthington said. “More than anything, I’ll be in a position to influence other guys for good. Elijah and I, we have a lot of years from transfers and missions. I’m in a very valuable position to help out other guys to feel comfortable on and off the floor. That’s my primary goal.”
BYU was a bit streaky to start the game against Colorado College, missing its first six shots followed by seven makes in a row. Five of those shots were 3-pointers, which staked the Cougars to a 17-5 lead in the first five minutes. Leading 21-9, BYU finished the half on a 27-5 run, and one of the Colorado College baskets was 3-pointer banked in from the top of the key. Bryant drove baseline for a two-handed dunk and Hardnett rattled in a 3-pointer as BYU finished the half on top 48-14.
The second half was more of the same. Seljaas connected on three straight 3-pointers -- the last on a fancy behind-the-back pass from Haws on the break -- for a 57-16 lead with 16:53 to play. At that stage, Seljaas had personally outscored Colorado College 19-16. It was 77-18 with just under 10 minutes to play and the bulge reached 62 points late in the contest.
“I think we just focused on defense,” Bryant said. “In the second half, the biggest thing is it’s easy to get the mindset that you’re up and can make a lot of mistakes. Late in the season, we’ve got to be able to come out and put a team down.”
The Cougars struggled to put away Westminster last week in another exhibition game so Rose was pleased with how his team played, especially in the second half.
“I thought it was a well-played game on our part,” Rose said. “We were really dialed in together as a group on both ends of the floor. To play a 40-minute game, score 95 points and only turn the ball over six times, that’s a good sign. We got to play a lot of guys, and that’s a good thing for guys to get out there and get some confidence.”
The Cougars open non-conference play on Saturday in the Marriott Center against Mississippi Valley State.