With the game on the line, BYU senior guard Jake Toolson shot like he invented the “heat check."
Toolson made four 3-pointers in a devastating 21-0 second half run on Thursday, pacing the Cougars to an important 74-60 West Coast Conference victory against Pacific.
Toolson finished with a career-high 28 points and Yoeli Childs had 26 in his return from an injured finger. Childs added nine rebounds in support of Toolson, who finished 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.
“Man, that was such a fun game,” Toolson said during his post-game radio interview on the BYU Sports Network. “I’m glad we pulled it out. I think the most important thing for us was we were able to get stops, and when we get stops we can push it and do what we do on this side of the ball. I saw a few go through and I knew I was feeling it so I was just trying to get some good looks at the rim.”
Toolson said he didn't even know the run was 21 straight points.
“Our team was so locked in on just the next possession, trying to get a stop so we can keep building,” Toolson said. “That’s pretty cool, 21-0.”
Pacific opted not to double team Childs in the post and paid the price.
“I was telling somebody, Yo (with) nine fingers, eight fingers, zero fingers … It was just so good to have him back,” Toolson said. “He impacts the game in so many ways. It’s been up and down for him but he’s been so positive and crucial to this team, whether he’s on the court or not. I was really happy to have him out there with us tonight.”
Childs scored twice inside and Toolson drilled a 3-pointer to push BYU’s 33-29 halftime lead to nine (40-31) just 1:10 into the second half. Pacific battled back and took a 53-51 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers from Austin Vereen and Jeremiah Bailey with 10:35 to play.
At that point, Toolson and Childs took over.
The Cougars 21-0 run included some white-hot shooting from Toolson. The senior had four triples and scored 14 points and Childs added five points, which allowed BYU to take a 71-53 lead with 4:23 to play.
Jahlil Tripp totaled 18 points for Pacific, but disappeared during the big BYU run as the Tigers went scoreless for more than seven minutes.
“I’m telling you, the most important part of that (21-0 run) was the ‘nothing,’” Cougar coach Mark Pope said. “We didn’t start out the game great. I say that not because the guys were not locked in. They knew how hard this was going to be and they wanted to come and compete really hard. But sometimes you need to get popped before you feel right on the floor, and the guys responded great.”
BYU shot 59 percent from the field (16 of 27) and 55 percent from the 3-point line (6 of 11) in the second half.
The Cougars and Childs got off to a slow start. In the first 2:45 of the game, Childs missed a three, turned the ball over and had his shot blocked as Pacific shot out to a quick 8-0 lead. But Childs eventually hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and the Cougars found a good groove on the offensive end despite nine first-half turnovers.
BYU shot 48 percent from the field and kept pace with the Tigers on the glass. The Cougars took a 15-14 lead after a steal and layup from Toolson at the 11:49 mark. BYU led by seven, 28-21 with 8:03 showing on the clock but Pacific battled back to take a 29-28 lead on a Tripp basket. Toolson nailed a 3-pointer and then fed Childs for a layup, giving the Cougars a 33-29 halftime lead.
Childs and Toolson led BYU with nine points each in the first half. Tripp led the Tigers with 10 points and three steals but also committed two charging fouls, both drawn by Dalton Nixon.
Pacific (3-3 WCC, 15-7 overall) lost a key player when 6-foot-9 senior Amari McCray was assessed a flagrant 2 foul for slapping Zach Seljaas in the back of the head. Due to the foul, McCray was ejected with 8:39 to play in the first half.
BYU’s T.J. Haws logged his 122nd consecutive start, tying a school record held by Jeff Chatman.
The Cougars (4-2, 15-6) stay on the road and play at San Francisco on Saturday.