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Trevin Knell knocks down 5 3-pointers in the 2nd half as BYU cruises to 100-58 exhibition victory

Enter 6-foot-5 freshman Trevin Knell, who knocked down his first four 3-pointers in the second half and poured in a team-high 19 points on 5 of 6 shooting from 3-point range in 23 minutes of play.

SHARE Trevin Knell knocks down 5 3-pointers in the 2nd half as BYU cruises to 100-58 exhibition victory

Brigham Young Cougars guard Trevin Knell (21) steals the ball from between UT-Tyler guards Micah Fuller (0) and Chris Giles (14) during the second half of an exhibition basketball game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019.

Colter Peterson, Deseret News

PROVO — At halftime of Friday night’s exhibition game between BYU and UT-Tyler, there was a general uneasiness in the Marriott Center.

The Cougars led by 21 points, but they had missed all four of their 3-pointers. For a team expected to shoot a lot of 3’s this season, that was a surprisingly low number of attempts. 

Enter 6-foot-5 freshman Trevin Knell, who came off the bench to knock down his first four 3-pointers in the second half. He poured in a team-high 19 points on 5 of 6 shooting from 3-point range in 23 minutes of play. 

BYU finished with a resounding 100-58 victory over the Patriots, a Division II opponent.

“We mentioned at halftime that we were concerned that we hadn’t gotten enough (3-pointers) up. Then Trevin Knell listened,” said first-year coach Mark Pope. “This cat was so excited to get shots up. I’m excited to coach him. I recruited him really hard for a really long time and to get to coach him is pretty fun. Yes, we shoot the ball; that’s what we do. We need to get shots up.”

As a team, after a slow start, BYU ended up hitting 9 of 17 from 3-point territory. 

Knell, who recently returned home from a mission in Uruguay, thrilled the crowd of 10,340 with his sharpshooting. 

“It felt really good after two years on my mission and not being able to play and coming out and feeling pretty confident,” said Knell, a Woods Cross product. “Yoeli (Childs) gave me a huge pep talk before the game because I was pretty nervous. He gave me a big confidence-booster. … It’s just a huge confidence-booster to see coach Pope smiling after I hit a 3 and nodding his head, acting like it should be normal.”

So how much did we learn about this BYU basketball team Friday night? 

Pope’s starting lineup featured Alex Barcello, Connor Harding, Jake Toolson, Kolby Lee and Dalton Nixon. Projected starter TJ Haws was not available Friday due to an illness while guard Jesse Wade (knee), Zac Seljaas (foot) and Gavin Baxter (shoulder) were also sidelined. Pope said Wade’s injury could be “a long-term deal.” 

Childs, who will be sidelined for the first nine games of the season due to an NCAA suspension, checked in a couple of minutes into the game to a loud cheer from the crowd. Childs scored 8 points in 14 minutes of action. It was his final appearance until Dec. 4 at Utah.

“This was another weird, new lineup,” Pope said. “But the guys responded and they really tried to guard and gave a good effort on the glass, which is so crucial for us. So we’re really happy.”

Toolson scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists, while 6-9 forward Kolby Lee, who will be a key player in the post for BYU with Childs unable to play early in the season, had 13 points, including back-to-back-back hook shots late in the first half. 

How much did time did Lee spend working on his hook shot during the offseason?

“Every single day besides Sundays,” Lee said. “It’s become routine. But when you have someone like (teammate) Richard Harward, who is 6-10, 270 (in practice) and you go against a guy that’s 6-10, 220 at most, that 40 pounds makes a big difference. It was nice to walk my way in.”

Said Pope of Lee: “He was great. He was super patient in the post. His feet were pretty good. He had some close-outs. He was really composed in the post. He was really solid and patient. … I thought he was terrific. He’s going to have a good year for us. He’s really, really important.”

And sophomore Harding also turned in an impressive performance, scoring 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting and hauling down 8 rebounds in 28 minutes. Harding hit the Cougars’ first 3 on the night, a couple of minutes into the second half, drawing a big cheer, and sigh of relief, from the crowd. 

Pope explained that his team was feeling the jitters in the first game of the season in front of the fans.

“We were so ramped up to make plays that we never really got into a flow,” Pope said. “In the second half, we got into more of a flow.”

BYU officially tips off the regular season Tuesday night at the Marriott Center against Cal State Fullerton.