BYU gets balanced scoring, solid defense down the stretch in 69-59 win over San Francisco

Spenser Heaps,

FILE: Brigham Young Cougars guard Elijah Bryant (3) gets hyped up during the game against the Utah Utes at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the years, BYU’s success at War Memorial Gym has been highlighted by career-high scoring performances.

But the Cougars won in a different way Thursday — with balanced scoring — in a 69-59 victory over San Francisco.

While several BYU players contributed in the win, in the end, leading scorers Yoeli Childs and Elijah Bryant asserted themselves late, when the Dons took their first lead of the game with 8:35 remaining, 53-51, on a 3-pointer by Jordan Ratinho.

Childs and Bryant scored 12 consecutive points for the Cougars that propelled them to a 61-56 lead with 4:29 remaining. They both made some big defensive plays as well down the stretch.

“It started on defense,” Bryant said. “We know we can score enough points but we need to get some stops as well.”

Though he was beset by foul trouble most of the night, Childs finished with 13 points, including nine over the final 10 minutes. Bryant had 17 points.

“They were really physical with Yo,” said coach Dave Rose. “He comes off a big game the other night and (USF’s) focus was to make it really difficult on him. He started off with a foul on the very first possession. Then he got his second one. That was a big turning point. His defensive effort, his focus, his whole execution and toughness in the last eight minutes kind of changed for us. He made huge plays — a couple of big dunks. I thought he really grew up tonight as far as his ability to deal with adversity and then come back and help his team win.”

Jahshire Hardnett wound up with 11 points, Luke Worthington had nine, and TJ Haws and Payton Dastrup added seven apiece.

“Everyone’s ready to step up,” Bryant said. “The system’s built around having five guys that can score. We have a lot of guys that are ready to step up when someone goes down.”

Hardnett was aggressive when he needed to be, making some big plays in the second half driving to the hoop.

“The coaches talked to me about it this…

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