BYU Basketball outlasted Weber State, 74-68 in what ended up being a very close game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake.
Weber State was without two key starters in Zach Braxton (out with an achilles strain) and Brekkott Chapman (out with a foot sprain). Some thought this would provide an opportunity for Yoeli Childs to shine, but guard play ended up being more prevalent for both squads -- especially from the likes of TJ Haws, who nailed a few clutch free throws down the stretch and ended the night with 24 points. (Childs did still end the night with a double-double.) It is also worth noting that BYU was without Dalton Nixon, who was on the bench in a protective boot. Unfortunately, we don’t know much else about that injury. Zac Seljaas played much of the time in Nixon’s stead.
After one half of play BYU was up 36-32 on Weber State. Weber State jumped out to an early lead, hitting two three pointers. They held on to the advantage for about five minutes before BYU started to get hot, and hit some threes of their own. Weber State made just one more from beyond the arc in the half (3-14 for 21 percent). TJ Haws drilled one from behind the NBA line and former Wildcat McKay Cannon hit a couple himself (then proceeded to smile and wink at some taunting Weber State fans, as per Spencer Linton). Those two threes would be Cannon’s only points on the night, though he still played some valuable minutes.
The Cougs shot 58 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, and a flaming hot 60 percent from three. Weber State’s Jerrick Harding led all scorers with 16 points and Haws was the next leading scorer between the two teams, with 8. BYU did turn the ball over eight times, perhaps one reason that the halftime score was so close.
BYU ended the night with 14 turnovers total which certainly did not help their case against the Wildcats, who really capitalized on those. More great play from Harding kept Weber in it. He ended the night with 29. Elijah Bryant had limited looks due to foul trouble. Jahshire Hardnett helped the Cougs keep things steady, and had a season high 11 points. There were five Cougars in double digits (Haws, Hardnett, Seljaas, Childs, and Bryant), while Weber State had three (Harding, Richardson, and Baker).
Weber State had the score within two points with less than a minute to go, but BYU came through with some game-saving free throws made by Elijah Bryant and then TJ Haws. Haws was 6-6 from the stripe, with four of the six coming in the last seconds. BYU’s shooting did cool down by a few percentage points after the half — they ended the night shooting 53 percent (while also shooting 53 percent from three) while Weber stayed steady at 48 percent from the field (they also shot 48 percent in the first half), but shot only a measly 25 percent from three.
BYU has a five-game home stretch coming up, and the team does not play again until Saturday, when they will face the Utah Utes (who beat Utah State Saturday and are 7-2). BYU is undefeated against in-state opponents so far, claiming wins over Utah Valley University, Utah State, and now Weber State. The Cougars sit at 8-2 and are on a five-game winning streak. BYU vs. Utah will be at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.