Childs’ debut not enough as BYU falls to rival Utah in overtime

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Senior Yoeli Childs converts on one of his two dunks against Utah on Dec. 4. (Hannah Miner)

BYU men’s basketball fell to rival Utah 102-95 in overtime at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, December 4.

This rivalry game marks the first opportunity for fans to see senior Yoeli Childs play this season after an NCAA suspension marked him ineligible for the first nine games. Childs came ready to play but was later forced to leave the court because of what appeared to be leg cramps.

While the teams went head-to-head making quick, consecutive shots, it was the 6-foot-8 forward who stole the show and gained momentum for the team during the first half.

Within the first six minutes of playing time, Childs managed to score 13 points, which included three shots hit behind the arc and a dunk to finish it off.

The 25-10 lead obtained by BYU within the first nine minutes dwindled at the 12-minute mark as BYU only scored five points in the following five minutes of play. Childs regained momentum for the team with a free-throw and a layup, which brought the team to 28-15.

At half-time, BYU led the game with 41-33 with 18 of the 41 points being scored by Childs and eight points added by Dalton Nixon. Jake Toolson added four rebounds, five assists and five points.

Head Coach Mark Pope on the sidelines of the rivalry BYU versus Utah game. (Hannah Miner)

The Cougars continued their success behind the arc making eight out of their 12 attempts in contrast to the Utes, who made just one of their seven attempts.

The second half brought more heat from Childs as he scored 11-straight BYU points over a 4:43 span, also adding a steal.

The Cougars faltered as the Utes’ shots began to fall and Utah went on an 8-0 run bringing the score to 69-65 with 11:07 in the second half. 

Toolson quickly altered the Ute’s advantage by making two free-throws, a three-pointer and a shot in the paint to surge the Cougars forward once more at 76-67. 

A Utah run ate away BYU’s lead, and with 5:53 to go, Utah found themselves down by just a posession, making the score a nail-biting 76-75.

Childs left the game with 9 minutes left to play with what appeared to leg cramps, and Haws and Nixon each fouled within just over a minute of each other with 5 minutes to play,

The following two minutes resulted in a tie for the first time in the second half until Toolson hit a three-pointer, putting BYU in the lead. After back-and-forth play ensued and the score stood at 86-86 as regulation expired, sending the teams into overtime. 

Jake Toolson added 27 points to the 95 BYU scored against the Utah Utes. (Hannah Miner)

Within the first 10 seconds of overtime play, the Utah Utes took the lead for the first time in the game and maintained the lead until the buzzer sounded. BYU now holds a record of 131-129 against their in-state rival. 

Mark Pope said losing three of his players at this critical moment was hard but he hopes his team can learn from this game and continue to get better and enhance their game.

“It was just a fight,” 6-foot-5 Toolson said. “Pretty frustrating and disappointing.”

While they came up short, Toolson added 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists to the team, just under Childs’ 29 total points in 25:27 minutes of play. 

The Cougars will play next in Salt Lake City at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on Saturday, Dec. 7. BYU will play UNLV at 1 p.m. MST and it will be broadcasted on BYUtv, BYU Radio, BYU Sports Network and KSL 102.7. 

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