Tune-up games are awesome. It’s easy to get excited about where this team can go when watching them roll like they did tonight. It took my wife asking me who BYU was playing to bring me down from the crazy high caused by Baxter’s fourth block. This was an awesome team win to say the least, so who cares, let’s get started.
-Yoeli Childs: This game marks three double-doubles in a row for Yoeli. Northwestern State had no answer for Yoeli as he put up 18 points on 7-12 shooting, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. That stat line has me giggling. His presence was felt in every aspect of the game.
Something that I have been really impressed with so far this season is his passing. Teams obviously know that Yoeli is the go-to guy and are addressing this by doubling Yoeli in the post. On more than one occasion tonight he received the ball in the post, took his time to view the floor, and made a good pass along the baseline to Baxter or to a cutting Nixon. I think we’re all going to have to just get used to Yoeli threes, it looks like it is here to stay. I say buckle up and enjoy the ride.
-Scoring Distribution: Four different players scored in double digits: Nixon (15), Childs (18), Haws (12), Harding (11). This type of scoring distribution has me wicked excited moving forward. When we play better teams it is going to be extremely important for Yoeli to get some help in scoring. The biggest question with Elijah Bryant gone this year is who is going to pick up his scoring. So far it seems that it will be answered by platoon. Oh yeah, and we get Nick Emery back in a few weeks.
-Dalton Nixon: Dave Rose inserted Nixon back into the starting lineup tonight and he answered the opportunity by tying his career high in points and going toe-to-toe on defense with Ishamel Lane. Going into tonight, Lane was being used more than 28% of Northwester’s possessions and was their clear go-to guy. At 6’8 250, Lane is a monster down low and I thought Nixon (6’7 215) did a really good job keeping him in check. He even made a three!
-Connor Harding: We have been hearing over and over again that Harding is the next Kyle Collinsworth, and tonight he looked the part. He was all over the floor with 11 points and 4 rebounds in his limited minutes. Games like these are extremely important for Harding to get back into the flow of things after his mission as he will likely be asked to contribute meaningful minutes to this team. If he looks like he did tonight going forward, then I’ll forget all about trying to be a realistic BYU fan.
-Gavin Baxter: I am declaring myself Baxter’s number one fan. Sorry, beat you to it.
-Turnovers: In 2016-2017, BYU played with an extremely quick pace. Each possession averaged 14.3 seconds. In comparison, the D-1 Average was 17.3 seconds. That year, BYU also had a turnover percentage of 18.3.
Last year, each possession averaged 17.2 seconds and the turnover percentage was 16.8. Clearly there is a correlation between tempo and turnovers. I hate turnovers. The first half of this game BYU had 9. In contrast, against Nevada, one of the best defenses in the league, BYU had 8 the entire game. If BYU wants to get out and run all I ask is that they take care of the ball. The good news is they seemed to calm down a little bit in the second half and only had 6 turnovers.
-Shooting: My face when Dave Rose says this is one of the better shooting teams he has had in a while:
Through three games BYU is shooting 27.2% from three. That’s gross. They shot better tonight than they have in the past, but when you’re at the bottom, the only place to go is up, I guess.
Maybe they just have a problem getting loose? They missed their first 7 threes and then made their next 4 in a row. A lot of the threes weren’t necessarily bad shots (except Jashire, I’m lookin’ right at you, man), they just couldn’t hit. As long as they are taking good shots I don’t mind as much because I think the percentage will start to climb.
Like I said, take this win with a massive grain of salt. Or don’t. Drink from the Kool-aid and convince yourself that we’re beating Gonzaga for the WCC this year. YOLO.
On to Oral Roberts.