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Jeff Chiu, AP
BYU forward Yoeli Childs celebrates during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Santa Clara in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
SANTA CLARA, California — On BYU forward Yoeli Childs’ 20th birthday, he almost gave himself a memorable present — a triple-double — against Santa Clara.
While Childs missed out on that milestone — he scored 22 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and a dished out a career-high eight assists — he’ll happily take the overwhelming 84-50 victory over Santa Clara Saturday night in what was the Cougars’ best overall performance of the season.
“As far as a 40-minute game to continually stay connected and stay with our game plan and continue to rely on each other,” said coach Dave Rose, “it might have been as good as I’ve seen from our guys.”
It was Rose that prevented Childs from reaching a triple-double because he took him out with plenty of time remaining in the game before a crowd of 3,369 at the Leavey Center.
“Coach was joking with me about it,” Childs said. “He said, ‘You’ll always remember on your birthday when I took your triple-double away from you.’ It’s all good. I’m sure I’ll have one eventually.”
“I sure would have loved for him to have stayed in there and get a couple of more assists,” Rose said. “He played great on his birthday, huh? It should be his birthday every night, with the way he played tonight.”
As a team, BYU was nearly flawless, jumping out to an 18-point first half lead while scorching the nets for 79 percent from the field. From there, the Cougars cruised.
BYU led by as many as 38 in the second half. With 14:07 left in the game, the Cougars were 25 of 33 (75.8 percent) from the field and finished the game shooting 62 percent (32 of 52). They also recorded a season-high 26 assists.
“Our team’s kind of built for when there’s two defenders on the ball, to make the extra pass. It’s almost like a double team,” Childs said. “We moved the ball and we made plays. It’s a…