The Cougars rebounded following a bye week to defeat the San Diego Toreros 87-73 on March 2 following back-to-back tough losses to San Francisco and Gonzaga.
The season’s final home game saw the team honor graduating seniors McKay Cannon and Luke Worthington before tipoff, with the latter getting the starting nod over freshman Gavin Baxter who sat out with an illness.
Thanks to a San Francisco loss, the Cougars clinched the No. 3 seed in the conference before game time. BYU still played its regular rotations in the less meaningful, more physical affair to continue its normal rhythm heading into the conference tournament.
“That was a hard-fought game and a pretty physical game, which we anticipated,” head coach Dave Rose said. “We got a big win and a little bit of momentum going into the tournament next week.”
Childs posted one of his finest efforts of the season, scoring 29 points with 13 rebounds, four blocks and three steals in what could be his final game in Provo depending on his impending NBA draft decision.
“We saw that (San Francisco had lost), but Coach addressed it before the game and made it very clear that that’s not what it’s all about,” Childs said. “It’s about going out and competing every single game and giving it your all, especially for this last game to get a win for these seniors. I think we played for them tonight.”
Guard and first team all-WCC favorite TJ Haws scored 26 points and four assists while Nick Emery chipped in 15 points on 5-6 shooting. Zac Seljaas added 10 points off the bench.
“These games are good for us,” Haws said “That’s a good win for us against a really good team. When we’re moving the ball and making the right plays, I feel like we’re very, very good offensively.”
The Toreros put up a hard fight, showing a tough deal of physicality most evident when Haws and San Diego guard Isaiah Wright violently collided into each other in the game’s final two minutes.
“This time of year is very physical,” Childs said. “You just have to be ready for a dog fight, especially going into the conference tournament where if you lose, you’re done. You’ve got to be ready. It was a good tune-up for us going in.”
With the three seed, the Cougars clinch a double-bye in the conference tournament and will play their first game in the third round on Saturday, March 9, in Las Vegas with their opponent to be determined.
“Everyone’s confidence is sky high right now,” Childs said. “We are going into this (tournament) with the attitude that we are going to win it all.”