PROVO – Another double-double from Eric Mika and balanced scoring pushed BYU to a 99-70 win over the Pepperdine Waves Thursday night in the Marriott Center.
“I thought it was a great effort by our guys tonight,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “We were aggressive, we were really unselfish and we shared the ball. This win is good for our psyche and confidence now that we understand the challenge of turning this thing around and playing another road game.”
Fellow sophomores Elijah Bryant and Nick Emery also reached double figures in scoring with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Senior L.J. Rose was the fourth member of the team to hit double digits in scoring with 10 points to go with his five rebounds and three assists. To lead all players, Yoeli Childs grabbed 14 rebounds. Additionally, he had eight points and two blocks.
It was a big bounce-back win for the Cougars after dropping their last game Saturday in San Diego.
“We do a good job of sticking together as a team, both coaches and players, just trusting in our abilities to bounce back, play better and learn from our mistakes in our losses,” Mika said. “I am happy to be able to be part of a team that can do that because it is not as easy as it looks. It is tough to lose a game, especially in conference. You never want to let one go.”
After both teams had a pair of empty possessions to start the game, Rose stole the ball and dished it out to Emery for a 3-pointer for the first bucket with 18:35 on the clock. After trading baskets, Pepperdine went on a quick 6-2 run to get up 10-7 with 15:52 left in the first half.
Coming out of a timeout, Mika made a couple of layups to spark the team. Emery drove to the basket for two to get back on top, 13-12, with 12:36 until halftime.
The game was tied 14-14 with 11:21 to go, but BYU took the lead with a jumper from Bryant and never looked back. Starting with Mika’s and-one at the 6:34 mark, the Cougars scored 10 unanswered points over two minutes to push the lead to 38-27.
Starting in the run, BYU went 12 of 12 from the field. To finish the first half, the Cougars scored six straight, capped off with a layup from Corbin Kaufusi to make it 51-35 at the break.
BYU’s first few points in the second half were free throws. The first field goal was Childs dishing to Mika for the layup. Haws drove to the basket at the 17:50 mark for the Cougars’ first 20-point lead, 58-38.
Behind a 12-1 run stat kicked off with treys from Emery and Bryant, BYU kept rolling to a 78-48 lead. With 11:35 left to play, the Cougars led by 30 for the first time in the game.
At the 7:55 mark, Colby Leifson came off the bench and drilled a shot from beyond the arc to keep up the lead, 88-57. From then on out, a solid team effort was able to keep the game out of the Waves’ reach. Braiden Shaw hit the last two buckets of the game in the last two minutes to reach the final 99-70 result.
The Cougars continue WCC play on the road this Saturday at Pacific. The two teams tip off at 3 p.m. PST in the Alex G. Spanos Center. The game will be televised on ROOT NW and CSN Bay Area. Radio options will also be available on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. A live video stream will also be available on TheW.tv.
Bringing in a total of 22 points and 10 rebounds, Eric Mika extended his six-game double-double streak, tying him for fourth longest in BYU history.
Mika’s first block of the game tallied a block in nine-straight games and 17 of 20 this season. Mika also scored 22 points, giving him double figures in all 20 games this season. With 16 points, Mika hit a career high for points scored in the first half.
Nick Emery’s 3-pointer at the start of the game marked 29 consecutive games with a 3-pointer, surpassing Jimmer Fredette’s 28 game streak with a triple. Emery ended the game with two total threes and 10 points.
TJ Haws’ second three of the night gave him 42 treys for the season, breaking a tie with Matt Carlino for fifth most by a Cougar freshman. This 3-pointer marked his only three of the night, but he ended the game with eight total points.
Elijah Bryant reached his fifth double-digit score of the season with 15 points and was the first BYU player of the night to hit doubles.
Yoeli Childs hit double figure rebounds for the sixth time this season with a total of 14. He ended the game with eight total points.
BYU’s 51 points marked the second-highest score in a half. The highest scores in a half this season were 52 in the first half against Utah Valley University and 52 in the second half against St. Louis.
BYU tied its team high of seven blocks, set previously against Coastal Carolina, Idaho State, CSU Bakersfield and Pacific.
With 99 points, the Cougars reached their second-highest score of the regular season. The highest score this year was against UVU when BYU reached 101 points.
In the win, 12 of the 13 Cougars that saw playing time scored at least two points.
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