PROVO — The cold never bothered the Cougars anyway. After spending a week in Hawaii, the BYU Cougars (6-3) were back at home Saturday afternoon when they hosted Montana Tech. The result, a 98-63 win.
“I’m proud of our guys,” BYU head coach Mark Pope said. “We’ve come in here a few times and talked about the ball being sticky and it certainly was not sticky tonight. We were border on overpassing which is such a tribute to these young men. They played hard.”
The Cougars shot 68.6% from the field and 52% from behind the arc. Jake Toolson led the Cougars with 17 points, and 10 of those came in the first half. Zac Seljaas, who came off the bench for the Cougars, scored 14 points, which is his second time thiss eason scoring in double figures.
“Our shooting percentage is a product of how we’re playing,” said guard TJ Haws. “We’re making simple plays and extra passes. We’re shooting open shots and we work on those shots every single day and we trust in each other and we have a lot of confidence shooting those shots. I think if we can continue to make the easy play and make the simple pass we’re gonna keep shooting well.”
The Cougars had four guys in double digits and had 37 points from the bench.
BYU went on a 9-0 scoring run in the first four minutes of the game to put the Cougars up 12-3. Montana Tech inched its way back into the game to get within six at the 15:16 minute mark, but any run or shot Montana Tech made was followed up with the Cougars making plays.
“We knew that it would be a game,” Pope said. “We just hadn’t been in our gym for so long, so it was just really fun to be back in our gym. You’re always concerned about coming back from a long trip, we were gone for a week almost and played three games. Just to come back and get back to some normal, and get back to our regular routine has been really good for us.”
The Cougars would led by nearly 20 at the halfway point and were shooting 73.4% from the field.
The second half was all BYU. Haws, who finished the afternoon with 15 points and six assists, opened up the second half with a 3-pointer that drew a foul on Montana, which quickly gave the Cougars a 20-point lead.
The Cougars continued to dismantle any rhythm Montana Tech would try and get into. BYU would go on to closeout the game and win with it’s starters on the bench.
The Cougars will get star Yoeli Childs, who has sat out the last nine games during his suspension back for the remainder of the season now. The Cougars have used that time to grow as a team and get better both on and off the court.
“I think this team has grown a lot since the beginning of the season,” Haws said. “We’ve learned a ton. I feel like everyday, every game we’re getting better, we’re learning, we’re trusting each other a little bit more, we’re trusting in coach a lot and I feel good about the state of our team right now. Hopefully we can bring Yoeli in and get better.”
The Cougars will head to Salt Lake on Wednesday to take on the Utah Utes at the Huntsman Center at 6 p.m. Carra McManamon is a native of Washington State and is attending the University of Utah. Contact her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter: @curramac22