Cougars race past Saint Louis in Las Vegas Tournament

File photo by BYU Photo

LAS VEGAS – Kyle Davis and Eric Mika helped BYU dominate Saint Louis 92-62 in the semifinal round of the Men Who Speak Up Main Event at the MGM Grand on Monday night.

“It was nice to have our guys battle and compete,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “The game kind of went back and forth, and we went through a lot of things for the first time, some foul trouble issues with our bigs in the first half and our guards in the second half. But we found guys that stepped up and made big plays for us.”

byulogoDavis and Mika combined for 42 points as BYU (4-0) shot 51 percent from the field. Mika tallied his third double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds while junior Jamal Aytes scored a career-high 12 points to compliment a perfect 4-4 from the field and the free throw line. Senior guard L.J. Rose proved to be a team player with 12 rebounds and eight assists as BYU outdid Saint Louis (2-2) in assists 21-8.

The Cougars opened the game on a scoring burst delivering 11 unanswered points capped by a Mika dunk. The Billikens fought back with a 5-0 run. Another dunk by Mika extended BYU’s lead 14-5 with 14:43 on the clock.

TJ Haws’ layup put the Cougars ahead 18-8 before Saint Louis took control of the next seven points to the make it a three-point game with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half.

A pair of Aytes free throws increased the Cougars’ lead to 22-17. Davis fed off the energy by scoring the next four baskets to extend BYU’s advantage 27-19 with 5:22 to go.

The Billikens fought to keep the score within reach as Haws threw a behind-the-back, over-the-shoulder pass to Yoeli Childswho dunked for a 10-point game, 31-21, with 4:14 left in the first half.

Saint Louis cut the deficit to four, sparking the Cougars to score the next four points on free throws with a minute and a half left. The Billikens landed a 3-pointer to end a 6-0 Cougar run and finish the half with BYU ahead 40-33.

The Billikens rallied to match the Cougars’ pace at the start of the second half as Saint Louis again cut the game to a four-point margin. BYU answered with a 11-2 run as a Mika layup gave the Cougars a comfortable 55-42 lead with 14:54 left in the game.

Two trips to the charity stripe for Mika gave BYU another boost before Saint Louis battled back with a 10-0 run to bring the game within five with 11:41 on the clock.

Davis threw in a layup to fuel a 16-0 spurt as the Cougars built an 80-57 lead. The Billikens’ Zeke Moore made a shot to slow down the BYU offense with six minutes left but the Cougars remained in control.

BYU continued to dominate through the end of the matchup, only allowing five more Saint Louis points, as the Cougars sealed the victory 92-62.

BYU faces either Alabama or Valapariso in the second game on Wednesday at 9 p.m. PST. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Radio.

Stats: byu-slu-box

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