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BYU overwhelms BYU-Hawaii in last tuneup game before season opener

PROVO — In BYU’s final exhibition game Wednesday night, coach Dave Rose emptied his bench and experimented with a bunch of combinations on the court against BYU-Hawaii.

The Cougars, who had six players score in double figures, crushed the Seasiders, 110-63, before a crowd of 12,485 at the Marriott Center.

Rose said he is looking forward to the season opener Monday against Princeton.

“That was a good tuneup for what we have ahead of us. I’m really happy that we got all of our guys on the floor,” he said. “We have a real challenge for our preparation for Princeton. This is a really good team. I’m excited to get out there and play them ... I love our group and I’m anxious to get on this journey with them. You can tell there’s a lot of ‘inexperience’ plays out there. We make silly mistakes. We’ve got to clean that up really quick because it will cost us when we come on Monday.”

Two players made their BYU debuts Wednesday — guards L.J. Rose and Elijah Bryant, a pair of transfers who have dealt with injuries. Neither played last season.

L.J. Rose started Wednesday and finished with four points, eight rebounds and 10 assists in 19 minutes of action. He assisted on three of the Cougars’ first six baskets.

“We played great. It was good to be out there with my team,” L.J. Rose said. “We’re a talented group. I’m excited for the season.”

“I like his size and how active he is. In the few minutes he played, he rebounded the ball really well,” Dave Rose said of his senior guard. “He’s a pass-first guy with the ability to score. You get a lot of pass-first guys who are challenged offensively. He’s got a great offensive game but he’s a pass-first guy. I like his confidence. He plays with a lot of confidence.”

Asked about his pass-first approach as a point guard, L.J. Rose said, “Whatever the team needs. Whatever we have to do to win.”

Bryant played for 12 minutes and was 1 of 6 from the field and had three rebounds.

“It’s exciting to be back on the court,” said Bryant. “It’s a big mental step for me.”

Kyle Davis led BYU with 16 points while Eric Mika and TJ Haws each scored 15. Nick Emery chipped in 14 and Colby Leifson, Braiden Shaw and Yoeli Childs added 12, 11 and 10, respectively. BYU’s post players had their way inside with the undersized Seasiders.

Mika played only 14 minutes and left the game with a finger injury.

“He dislocated it at the end of his pinky,” Dave Rose said. “It looked kind of freaky but we got it put back in there. He’s fine.”

Childs had a few dunks Wednesday, including a jaw-dropping put-back slam off a missed shot.

“He’s got great timing,” Dave Rose said of Childs, who posted a double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds. “He’s really long and he’s always around the basket. I’ve seen that from him many times in high school and AAU games.”

The Cougars led at halftime, 53-35. In the second half BYU went on a 20-0 run to go up by 40 points, 84-44.

Tanner Nelson led BYU-Hawaii with 17 points. The Cougars shot 53.2 percent, compared to 29.9 percent for the Seasiders. BYU-Hawaii hit only 5 of 36 shots from 3-point range and BYU outrebounded the Seasiders, 66-32.

This marks the final year for BYU-Hawaii’s basketball program and Dave Rose was glad to be able to schedule the Seasiders one last time.

“I think anybody in the sports world would think it’s a sad situation, similar to when Ricks (College) dropped their program,” Rose said.