LOS ANGELES – The BYU men’s basketball team led for just 52 seconds in its 81-76 comeback victory over Loyola Marymount, propelled by 20-point efforts from both Nick Emery and TJ Haws Saturday afternoon at Gersten Pavilion.
“It’s one of those deals where you lead for 52 seconds in the game and it’s the right 52 seconds,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I really like this group of guys and you can see them learning as we go at times. It’s our first road win and first road league win, so an awesome game for us.”
The Cougars came back from an 18-point deficit in the first half to a five-point win, shooting 43 percent on the night. Of their 20 points, Emery and Haws had five and four 3-pointers, respectively. Eric Mika scored just two points in the first half before scoring 15 second-half points on top of 10 total rebounds. Yoeli Childs added 15 points and eight rebounds, and a key block in the final 10 seconds.
With 6:13 left in the game, Mika threw down a dunk to bring the Cougars (11-4, 2-0 WCC) within three, 70-67. LMU (7-6, 0-2 WCC) and BYU traded buckets and trips to the charity stripe before a 3-pointer from Emery closed the gap to three again, 76-73, with 2:40 on the clock. Less than a minute later, Haws sunk a shot from beyond the arc to even the score, 76-76, with 2:00 left.
Haws hit his fourth 3-pointer of the night to give the Cougars their second lead of the night, 79-76, with 39 seconds on the clock. Childs blocked an LMU 3-pointer with 10 seconds left and successful free-throw attempts from L.J. Rose sealed the deal.
“Nick (Emery) hit a huge one,” Dave Rose said. “The one that TJ (Haws) hit coming out of the timeout to tie it, we executed it and he buried the shot. Everything changes, not just for the guy who hits the shot but the four other guys on the court and the bench. The next time you draw one up, you have confidence.”
At the beginning of the game, BYU and LMU traded baskets to tie it 10-10 two minutes in. The Lions then went on a 6-0 run to take a 16-10 lead before the Cougars made it a one-possession game. Emery scored his first 3-pointer of the game to close the gap, 23-20, with 16:38 on the clock.
The Lions maintained their advantage and went into halftime up by 13, 47-34.
After shooting 36 percent from the field in the first half, BYU came out of the locker room and shot 50 percent in the second half.
“We played really well in the second half,” Emery said. “The first half got away from us a little bit and we weren’t playing BYU basketball, but we kept our composure and did a great job in the second half. We’ve had some close losses, like against USC and Illinois, and learned to fight back. It was good to fight back and win this time.”
The Cougars will play next at Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. PST. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
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