SALT LAKE CITY — BYU played the first nine games of the season without forward Yoeli Childs. 

Then, against Utah Wednesday night at the Huntsman Center, in Childs’ season debut, he turned in a dominating performance in 25 minutes of play — 29 points on 12 of 16 shooting from the floor, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range, with seven rebounds.  

But over the final nine minutes of the game, the Cougars again were without Childs, who suffered an unspecified injury.  

First, Childs went to the bench, and later guard TJ Haws joined him, having fouled out. 

Meanwhile, Utah stormed back from a 14-point second-half deficit and spoiled Childs’ return with a 102-95 overtime victory. 

“It was just a fight,” said Cougar guard Jake Toolson. “It was pretty frustrating, disappointing.”

In the end, the Utes scored 24 points off 20 BYU turnovers and outscored the Cougars 62-38 in the paint. Utah shot 57.8% from the floor while BYU shot 53.8%. The Utes were 24 of 31 from the free-throw line, while the Cougars were 13 of 17. Utah had a 31-7 advantage in fast break points.

“I guess from not playing for eight or nine games, his body’s not ready to play 40 minutes.” BYU guard Jake Toolson on Yoeli Childs’ return to the court and early departure

“We had a tough time in transition in the second half. We had a tough time going to the free-throw line in the second half,” said coach Mark Pope. “It was a whole plethora of problems.”

With Childs sidelined, Toolson took control for BYU. He finished with 27 points, making all three of his 3-point attempts, and grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists. 

But Utah’s Timmy Allen and Rylan Jones had their way over the final 20 minutes. Allen finished with a team-high 27 points and Jones added 25. The Utes poured in 53 points over the final 20 minutes.

“In the second half, they just kept going on runs,” Toolson said. “We weren’t getting stops, and we weren’t getting back on defense. Down the stretch, we just couldn’t make enough plays.”

Childs was unstoppable at times, but his last basket came with 16 minutes remaining. At one point, Childs fell to the floor and had to be helped off the court.

“I guess from not playing for eight or nine games, his body’s not ready to play 40 minutes,” Toolson said of Childs.

Utah never had a lead in the game until the overtime period. 

BYU (6-4) had a chance to win the contest in regulation. With the scored tied at 86, Alex Barcello missed an off-balanced jumper just before the second half expired. 

In OT, the Utes built on its momentum and quickly took a 94-88 advantage with 1:48 left in OT. And the Cougars couldn’t recover. 

“We couldn’t get stops and the crowd was getting into it,” Toolson said. “Offensively, we weren’t getting the looks we wanted and we stopped sharing the ball and making plays for each other. We tried to make individual hero plays.”

After the game, Pope said he didn’t know much about Childs’ status. “Don’t know yet,” he said. “Not sure.”

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In the first half, BYU jumped out to a 20-8 lead after Childs scored 13 straight points, capped by a resounding dunk. The Cougars led by as many as 16 in the first half.

BYU led 31-15 when the Utes went on a 10-0 run. The Cougars led at halftime 41-33. 

“That’s how we expect to play. That’s how we play,” Pope said of his team’s first-half performance. “Just super disappointed in the second half.”

BYU plays UNLV Saturday at Vivint Arena.

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