The BYU Cougars used a strong performance from Yoeli Childs to regain sole possession of third place with a 68-52 win over the San Francisco Dons on Saturday night.
Childs finished with 23 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the floor to go along with a career-high 17 rebounds as the Cougars bounced back from an embarrassing road setback to Pepperdine with their best road showing of the season.
TJ Haws added 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals while Eric Mika chipped in with 12 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Chase Foster was the only Don to score in double figures with 10 points off the bench
Why the Cougars won
A strong rebounding night from the Cougars coupled with the Dons failing to make shots led to the win. BYU won the battle of the backboards 50-41 and held San Francisco to just 24.7 percent shooting from the floor.
The turning point
After a Jordan Ratinho 3-point shot cut the BYU lead to 15-12, the Cougars closed the first half on a 21-10 run to open up the 14 lead. Childs was huge during that stretch with 11 of the Cougars' points.
What it means
The Cougars took a big step into locking up third place for the conference tournament. While it doesn't seem like much, it means the Cougars wouldn't have to face No. 1 ranked Gonzaga until the tournament final (should BYU get that far).
Grading the performances
On a night where the Cougars did shoot well from the outside — just 4 for 17 from 3-point range — they did a good job of getting inside to get easy buckets.
On the down side, the Cougars had just seven assists compared to 16 turnovers and got just one point off the bench.
The Dons couldn't make shots. They connected on just 24.7 percent from the floor, including 27.9 percent from beyond the arc and 44.4 percent from the foul line.
On the plus side, they held the Cougars to just 68 points and limited Eric Mika to just seven shots and 12 points.
Three telling stats
The Dons made just 18 field goals all night, including 6 of 30 two-points shots. That is the fewest shots a team has made against the Cougars all season and a season low for the Dons.
The Cougars finished with a season-low seven assists while collecting eight steals. It was the first time since an NIT loss to Valparaiso that the Cougars accomplished that feat.
The Cougars set a new season best in blocks as they swatted away eight shots, including three from Childs, two from Mika, two from Elijah Bryant and one from Payton Dastrup.
The Cougars get a chance to exact some revenge from an earlier loss as the San Diego Toreros come to town on Thursday night. The Toreros are just 11-15 on the season and 4-10 in WCC action.
They are 2-6 since stunning the Cougars 88-75 in January and haven't scored more than 70 points in a game since that night.
One player to watch for San Diego is senior forward Brett Bailey, who is averaging a team-leading 15.9 points on 44.2 percent shooting from the floor. He is also San Diego's leading rebounder at 7.1 boards a contest.