BYU used a strong second half to defeat Westminster 72-43 in its final tuneup before starting regular season play on Nov. 6 against Nevada.
“I wasn’t so pleased with the way we played in the first half,” head coach Dave Rose said. “But to see them adjust then come out and be more like ourselves in the second half, I think it’s going to be a coachable team.”
Yoeli Childs led the way for the Cougars, recording a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. T.J. Haws added 11 points for BYU, along with five rebounds and four assists.
“In that first half, we didn’t really play like ourselves offensively,” Childs said. “But overall at the end of the game coach was very positive about how we played. I think we made some good adjustments in the second half sharing the ball and making the extra plays.”
The Cougars shot 42.9 percent from the field in the first half, but only 23 percent on 3-13 shooting from three-point range. BYU upped that number in the second half, however, to 44 percent on 4-9 shooting.
Redshirt freshman Kolby Lee saw his first action on the court for BYU and knocked down his first career field goal attempt, a three, with 2:18 remaining in the first half.
“It was pretty surreal,” Lee said. “As soon as I hit my first shot I just felt the love for my guys. The atmosphere is unreal, you dream about it as a little kid, and to step out on the floor and play against someone other than your teammates is a good feeling.”
BYU jumped out to a 9-3 lead with 16:23 remaining in the first half. Both teams struggled to score for several minutes after until BYU went on a 21-8 run in the final 9:36 of the half to go up 35-13.
The scoring stayed fairly even for both teams to start the second half, but the Cougars went on a 23-11 run in the final 13:23 of the game to put Westminster away.
Westminster shot just under 26 percent on the night on 15-58 shooting. The Division II team based out of Salt Lake City struggled all night against the Cougars’ physicality and length. BYU scored 13 fast break points off 12 turnovers, while Westminster had five points off of BYU’s 10 turnovers.
BYU now takes on No. 7 Nevada next Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 9 p.m. MST in Reno to start the regular season. Nevada reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last season after upsetting No. 2 seed Cincinnati, only to lose to No. 11 seed Loyola Chicago.
“(Nevada) is a great opportunity for us,” Rose said. “Obviously the objective is to win the game, but we’ll learn a lot about ourselves and where we are.”