clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How Yoeli Childs poured in career-high 38 points in an 81-64 victory at Pepperdine to help Cougars clinch No. 2 seed in WCC Tournament

The Waves chose not to double-team Cougar forward Yoeli Childs. That strategy didn’t work out very well for Pepperdine, especially in the second half. Childs poured in a career-high 38 points on 17 of 27 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds as BYU pounded the Waves 81-64 at Firestone Fieldhouse in the regular-season finale. 

BYU forward Yoeli Childs (23) and teammates react on the bench as the team scores against Pepperdine during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Malibu, Calif.
Ringo H.W. Chiu, AP

MALIBU, Calif. — In an attempt to spring an upset against No. 17 BYU Saturday afternoon, Pepperdine made a calculated decision not to let the country’s best 3-point shooting team beat it from the outside.

The Waves chose not to double-team Cougar forward Yoeli Childs, one of the best big men in the nation. But that strategy didn’t work out very well for Pepperdine, especially in the second half.

Childs poured in a career-high 38 points on 17 of 27 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds as BYU pounded the Waves 81-64 at Firestone Fieldhouse. The regular-season finale featured a large contingent of Cougar fans and extended its winning streak to nine games.

With the win, BYU (24-7, 13-3) clinched the No. 2 seed in next week’s West Coast Conference Tournament at Orleans Arena.

The Cougars earned a bye all the way to the WCC semifinals a week from Monday in Las Vegas.

Childs led the way Saturday in Malibu.

“He’s a pretty special player, isn’t he? We’ve seen him do this all season long,” said coach Mark Pope. “Pepperdine did a great job of giving us only 14 3-point attempts. But the cost of that is 38 and 14. It’s a really expensive cost. The makeup of this team offensively makes it complicated to make a schematic decision. The decision was to stay with the shooters. Yoeli’s just a handful down there.”

Childs also scored 28 points in last week’s 91-78 upset of then-No. 2 Gonzaga.

“I’m trying to play with energy and make the right plays,” Childs said. “Teams haven’t been doubling. When they do that, I’m just going to try to go to work in the post and when teams start bringing the double, I’m going to trust my teammates and they’re going to do an unbelievable job of shooting the ball and making plays for each other.”

The Waves led by three points at halftime as Kessler Edwards had 18 first-half points. Pepperdine (15-5, 8-8) led 37-32 in the opening seconds of the second half before the Cougars took control, outscoring the Waves 49-27 the rest of the way.

A 3-pointer by Connor Harding with 14:52 remaining gave BYU the lead for good at 46-43.

With 8:08 left, Childs made a hook shot that put the Cougars up 58-50. That bucket gave him 2,001 career points, making him just the sixth BYU player to reach that milestone of 2,000 points.

“He’s such a great player. You can always count on him. He’s a great teammate and he’s so good,” Cougar senior Zac Seljaas said. “He really led our team and was able to get us going offensively and defensively he got big rebounds.”

“That’s a lot of shot attempts. You’ve got to shoot the ball a ton to get 2,000 points,” Childs said of that accomplishment. “I’m grateful for the coaches and teammates I’ve had that have trusted me and given me the ball in really great spots. The credit goes to all of them, for sure.”

Later in the half, Seljaas scored 10 consecutive points for BYU, putting the Cougars up 71-58 with four minutes left.

“The crazy thing about him is, he gets 10 straight and not a single play is drawn for him. Not one,” Childs said of Seljaas. “Zac brings so much energy to us. He’s done an unbelievable job of filling the role that (injured) Dalton (Nixon) brings as well in the best way that he can. You can’t really completely fill those shoes but he’s done a good job of trying to emulate those things. His energy gets him buckets and his energy always puts him in the right spots on the floor. He had a big night for us.”

Pope and Childs sang the praises of Barcello, who scored only three points but made a major impact against Pepperdine at the point guard position.

“We had that little stint where we put (Barcello) at the point and the game broke open a little bit. We got some stops and we were aggressively offensively,” Pope said. “Alex Barcello is the one who changed this game. He’s the guy I wanted to talk about after this game. He changed the tempo and the intensity and the feel of the game in the second half when we put him at the point for a few minutes.”

While guard TJ Haws went 3 of 10 from the field, he dished out 13 assists. Seljaas finished with 12 points and Jake Toolson had 11.

BYU made 7 of 14 3-pointers and 53 percent from the floor overall.

Childs left quite an impression in his final regular-season game as a Cougar.

“Well, 38 and 14 is a pretty big impact. The best thing about Yoeli this year that’s been so impressive is how much he’s in this fighting for his teammates” Pope said. “He’s got a vision of doing something bigger than himself. He didn’t guard really well in the first half but he was more solid in the second half. He made some big-time plays. He’s one of many leaders on this team.”