PROVO, Utah (AP)—Former Brigham Young coach Roger Reid returned to Provo and enjoyed everything but the final score.
BYU extended its home winning streak to 38 games, the longest active streak in the nation, with a 70-55 win over Southern Utah on Friday night, spoiling the return of Reid, now in his first season as coach of the T-Birds.
Reid coached the Cougars for seven seasons before being fired seven games into the 1996-97 campaign with a 1-6 record.
“It was like I never left here,” Reid said. “I spent most of my life here, and it was really like I never left. I have great memories of the young men I’ve coached here. I’m proud of what we accomplished here, and I have no regrets.”
The T-Birds (2-10) could not overcome Jonathan Tavernari’s game-high 19 points, which included 15 in the second half.
“Jonathan was terrific,” BYU coach David Rose said. “He really gave us an offensive lift. He was the only player that was playing with a lot of confidence, especially in the second half. The other guys were pressing a little too hard.”
The taller Cougars outscored Southern Utah 31-18 in the paint and forced 24 turnovers while blocking nine shots.
“In a game like this, you have to hit baskets,” Reid said. “You can’t make mistakes against top teams. You have to be pretty much flawless, and we didn’t do that.”
Also returning was Reid’s assistant coach Austin Ainge, who started at point guard for the Cougars last season.
“Austin’s doing a tremendous job for us,” Reid said. “He has great respect and love for his teammates here, and he loved coming back and seeing those guys.”
A 9-2 run midway through the second half gave the Cougars (10-2) a 53-37 lead, the largest of the game. The T-Birds pulled within nine points with 5:50 left, but could get no closer.
“Southern Utah did a great job trying to keep us off balance,” Rose said. “We made enough plays to win the game even though we weren’t shooting as well as we’re capable of. A lot of that had to do with Southern Utah.”
Both teams took a while to heat up, and 5 minutes into the game BYU led just 3-2. Once BYU got warm, Sam Burgess’ consecutive baskets spurred a 9-0 run by the Cougars, giving them a 28-15 lead with 2:54 remaining in the half.
The T-Birds used a deliberate passing game that burned most of the shot clock to keep the score down. The Cougars came into the contest averaging 80 points.
Lee Cummard had 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and five steals for the Cougars, who shot 55 percent after missing seven of their first eight shots.
Davis Baker and Geoff Payne led Southern Utah with 15 points each.