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Tough defense leads BYU to home win over St Mary’s

NCAA Basketball: St. Mary’s at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Always good to beat St Mary’s.

BYU withstood a late St Mary’s charge to take down the Gaels 71-66 Thursday night in Provo.

BYU had one of its best defensive performances of the season, holding the Gaels to 44% shooting from the field and zero three point field goals and assists until the final seven minutes in the game. Turnovers were also a huge story, as BYU won the turnover battle 15-2.

Yoeli Childs led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds and was helped with 17 points and 7 assists from TJ Haws. One week his best career performance versus Pepperdine, Gavin Baxter once again provided a spark off the bench. Baxter came up with some key defensive plays and added 10 points (5-6 shooting), 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. With these two performances in the past week, we should see a lot more Gavin Baxter on the floor, including possibly seeing him replace Luke Worthington in the starting lineup.

The win moves BYU to 13-9 and 5-2 in the WCC. St Mary’s falls to 13-8 (4-2 WCC) with the loss.

After a day off Saturday, BYU next welcomes fourth ranked Gonzaga next Thursday in the Marriott Center.