The first half wasn’t pretty but BYU basketball held a comfortable 34-22 lead.
Then things kicked into overdrive to open the second half and BYU flat-out buried a visiting Nevada squad in a 75-42 win Tuesday night in the Marriott Center.
Jake Toolson opened the second half by hitting a corner 3-pointer, his fourth trey of the night. Then Yoeli Childs, who was scoreless in the first half, scored eight consecutive points inside. It was suddenly a 45-24 game and the Cougars spent the rest of the half toying with the Wolf Pack.
That half-opening run got as big as 20-4, which made it 54-26 with 13 minutes left.
A combination of a spirited BYU defensive effort and simply awful Nevada shooting meant the visitors didn’t reach double digits in the second half until there were single-digit minutes left. Eventually, BYU had a 41-20 final advantage in the second half and never trailed in the contest.
In the last two games, BYU outscored the state of Nevada’s two Division-I basketball programs 158-92.
Toolson finished with 15 points on five 3-pointers to lead BYU in scoring, adding six assists. The Cougars were not shy about casting up the deep ball, finishing 12 of 37 as a team.
On the flip side, Nevada shot just 3 of 23 from deep.
Childs totaled 14 points, all in the second half, and grabbed 13 rebounds. He’s tied for the active lead in career double-doubles across all of Division I with 39.
Alex Barcello added 13 points, TJ Haws scored 11 and Connor Harding put in 10 points.
Dalton Nixon added another 10 rebounds as the Cougars won the rebound battle 49-37.
Nevada shot 24.6% in the contest. Mark Pope credited assistant coach Nick Robinson with the team’s defensive preparation leading up to this game on ESPNU’s postgame interview.
Now it’s time for another Mountain West foe, and a big one: BYU (8-4) takes on Utah State (10-1) in the Beehive Classic, scheduled for 6 p.m. MST Saturday at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.