BYU forward Yoeli Childs posted 31 points for the third straight game in a 74-59 Beehive Classic victory over the University of Utah Utes Saturday afternoon. The matchup, played at Vivint Smarthome Arena in Salt Lake City, marks the ninth BYU win over Utah in their last 12 meetings.
Childs, who played high school ball at Bingham in Salt Lake County, began the game on a tear by scoring the Cougars’ first 12 points on his own.
“They weren’t doubling down, so my teammates just kept feeding me,” Childs said. “That’s been our recipe. Where, if they’re not doubling, then we throw it in and if they start to double, I kick it back out. I’m really lucky to have teammates like that who have trust in me.”
Both offenses stalled in the first half, but the Cougars would return from halftime to score 13 unanswered points and hold the Utes scoreless for nearly the first six minutes of the second half.
“We were methodically trying to get stops and score during the first four minutes especially to really break the game open, so our guys came out to play from the locker room,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said.
While the Cougars’ three-point shooting woes continued, shooting just 29 percent in the contest, guard TJ Haws went 3-4 from behind the arc with 18 points
“We got stops and were a little more patient on offense in the second half,” Haws said. “We decided at halftime to come out with more energy and passion.”
Guard Zac Seljaas enjoyed a career performance with 14 points and headlined the defensive effort with five steals, six rebounds and a block. Haws would add six rebounds and two blocks of his own.
“Zac played with a lot of heart,” Rose said. “TJ, Yoeli and Zac have grown up in this state with this rivalry, so I’m just happy for all three of them for playing as well as they have all year today.”
Childs became the first player since BYU legend Jimmer Fredette in 2011 to record three straight 30 point performances. Childs would provide the game’s most iconic moment and possible SportsCenter highlight by dunking over two Ute defenders as if to send a message to the Utah coaching staff for failing to offer the former four-star hometown recruit.
“I used to want to prove people wrong,” Childs said. “I’ve switched my mindset in the past couple years to prove the people that believe in me right. Thirty points is a lot of shots, so shout out to my teammates for getting me the ball.”
Cougar fans and members of the ROC who made the trip up to Vivint dominated the crowd and took over the game with their energy, bringing what felt like a home atmosphere to the heart of Ute territory.
“The atmosphere was great,” Childs said. “I think our student section was a lot better (than Utah) and it felt more like a home game.”
The Cougars, with two straight rivalry wins this week following a rough three-game losing skid, are seemingly back on track and playing much more in sync with each other.
“Last Saturday we had a rough taste in our mouth after a bad loss, and we had to make a decision on who we were going to be,” Haws said. “Monday we bounced back well in practice and set the tone for the week. And I think we’ve had two great games this week, and we’re in a good spot right now.”
The Cougars will face Portland State next at home this Wednesday, Dec. 12.