PROVO – Eric Mika and Nick Emery’s double-digit scoring highlighted BYU’s 81-65 victory over Coastal Carolina Saturday night at the Marriott Center.
“I thought it was a really good test for us tonight,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I thought that defensively, especially in the first half, we really came together as a group compared to the past two nights. The first half wasn’t our best, but I thought that we did a good job of contesting shots and keeping guys in front of us. Our post defense was pretty solid.”
Eric Mika earned his second double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds while adding three blocks to the Cougar defense. Sophomore Nick Emery tallied 14 points while senior L.J. Rose and Elijah Bryant each contributed nine points. BYU (3-0) shot 48 percent from the field while holding CCU (1-3) to 34 percent.
BYU took control from the beginning as Emery set the tone for the first half with two 3-pointers. Senior Kyle Davis hit a jumper to increase the Cougars’ lead 8-4 with 16:19 left. BYU continued to feed off the momentum as TJ Haws added a shot in the paint to extend the Cougars’ advantage to 13-8. The Chanticleers cut the deficit to two before Davis responded with a layup to give BYU a 15-11 lead with 11:53 on the clock.
Rose added to the Cougars’ offensive drive with a shot from the arc to increase BYU’s lead to eight. Forward Yoeli Childs capped off a 7-1 run with a jumper to extend BYU’s lead to nine at 23-14 with 8:53 left.
Both teams remained scoreless for over two minutes before the Chanticleers scored from under the basket. Davis responded with a jumper to keep the Cougars ahead by nine. Junior Jamal Aytes got on the board with a basket to give BYU its first double-digit lead of the night, 27-16, with just over five minutes to go.
Haws found Emery for a fast-break layup as the Cougars continued to pull ahead 31-17 with four minutes to go. CCU answered with the next two shots before a Mika layup forced a Chanticleer timeout with 2:50 left.
Mika made a three-point play on a jumper and a free throw before a pair of CCU free throws closed the first half 40-25 in BYU’s favor.
Mika scored the Cougars’ first eight points of the second half before a Haws’ 3-pointer generated a 20-point lead, 51-31, with 16:57 to go. The Chanticleers couldn’t keep up as they attempted to match each BYU shot. An Emery steal and jump shot gave the Cougars a 61-38 advantage with 13:55 left.
CCU’s Demario Beck capped off a 12-4 run with a basket to chip away at the Cougars’ 65-50 lead with 9:44 on the clock. It wasn’t enough to stop BYU’s offensive drive as Rose connected with Bryant for a 3-pointer to increase the Cougars’ lead 73-53 with 5:48 left in the game.
Junior guard Davin Guinn entered the contest and nailed two consecutive shots from the arc to put the Cougars’ up 81-57 with just over three minutes to go. The Chanticleers scored eight more points before the Cougars’ sealed the 81-65 victory.
BYU travels to Las Vegas to play Saint Louis at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in the Men Who Stand Up Main Event on Monday, Nov. 21, at 6:30 p.m. PST. The game will be available live on YouTube and Broadcast on the Cougar IMG Network, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
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