Joshua Ellis
Yoeli Childs shoots the ball over a pair of Mississippi Valley State defenders during the Cougars’ 91-61 win on Nov. 11, 2017. Childs finished the game with a double-double. (Joshua Ellis)

The BYU men’s basketball team started the regular season strong with a 91-61 win Saturday against Mississippi Valley State.

“I’m impressed with the way our guys handled these last few days,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “I thought that the game tonight that we had a really good game plan. I thought our guys executed it well. They’re a really athletic team that really likes to drive you and kind of attack you one-on-one.”

With BYU comfortably ahead during the majority of the game, Rose focused on executing plays when the Cougars had the ball.

“We’re playing against possessions that we’re trying to execute each time,” Rose said.

Rose also expressed that he hopes this will be a team that will respond with different individual stars every night.

Tonight, that star was Elijah Bryant, who made the first basket of the night and led the team with 27 points, six rebounds and one block.

“Tonight Elijah was near perfect in his offensive execution,” Rose said. “He was good. He was patient, had a great pace, he was aggressive, attacked the spots when it was time, shared the ball really well, had a great line.”

Bryant was humble when talking about his in-game achievements.

“Man, I think that’s just the offense,” Bryant said. “Whoever’s night it is, guys will keep on finding them and get them shots. Tonight was my night. Guys kept on finding me and I was able to hit up shots.”

The Cougars also saw good numbers from Yoeli Childs who had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while adding six assists and five blocks.

Rose was pleased, overall, with how the team played tonight and now looks forward to next week’s games against Princeton and UT Arlington.

“Good way to start and now we’ve got a huge challenge here next week,” Rose said. “Tough week – flying across the country, playing a Wednesday game, and then getting back on Saturday and playing a really good veteran team that beat us up last year.”

The Cougars will play Princeton on Wednesday, Nov. 15 before returning home to face UT Arlington on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. MST.

BYU defeated Princeton last year in the Cougars’ season opener and lost to UT Arlington in the first round of the NIT in March.

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