PROVO – Nick Emery had 22 points and four Cougars scored in double figures as BYU defeated Colorado 79-71 in the Marriott Center on Saturday night.
“I really feel like tonight was one of the best all-around performances for this group,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “Not every guy had a great game as far as numbers are concerned, but every guy gave supreme effort.”
BYU (7-3, 0-0 West Coast Conference) out-shot Colorado (7-3, 0-0 Pac-12) 45 percent to 39 percent in the contest. The Cougars also dominated the paint, grabbing 46 rebounds to the Buffaloes’ 31.
Emery led all scorers with 22 points on 8 of 15 shooting, adding four rebounds and a team-high three steals. TJ Haws had 16 points, including four 3-pointers, while grabbing five rebounds. Down in the paint, Eric Mika tallied 17 points, seven rebounds and a career-high six assists. Freshman Yoeli Childs notched his first career double-double in the victory with 11 points and 12 boards.
“It feels great. We had a good vibe in the locker room,” Haws said. “It’s a good confidence builder for us. We’re going to keep getting better and get on to Illinois next week. It feels great.”
Childs scored the first four points for the Cougars in the first half, including a wide-open dunk off a pass from Mika. That jam sparked a 7-0 run, pushing the lead to 9-3 early in the half. After trading points back and forth, a 3-pointer from L.J. Rose made it 21-13 with 12:18 on the clock.
BYU went a couple minutes without scoring until Haws dished a behind-the-back pass to Mika for a three-point play, extending the lead to 24-16 with 9:23 left in the first half. That was one of Mika’s two field goals in the first half.
Emery scored eight in a row for the Cougars over two minutes, including two 3-pointers. His second trey put BYU up 34-27 with 4:17 until the break. However, the Buffaloes fought back to get within one after scoring two-straight buckets, making it 34-33 with less than three minutes in the half.
A Colorado 3-pointer tied the game at 38-38 with 43 seconds until halftime. Taking the momentum into the locker room, Mika grabbed an offensive board and scored a quick basket to give BYU the 40-38 lead heading into the break.
Mika scored the first bucket out of the half to make it 42-38. The Cougars later went on an 8-2 run that was sparked by a three from Haws and capped off with a free throw from Davin Guinn. That put BYU up 53-44 with 13:57 on the clock.
Colorado responded with 10 unanswered points to take a 54-53 advantage at the 11:42 mark. For the next few minutes, the two teams traded buckets. Clutch threes from Steven Beo and Haws tied the score at both 58 all and 61 all.
BYU got back on top with an and-one from Haws, surpassing the Buffaloes by two. That sparked an 8-0 run for the Cougars, pushing the lead to 69-62 with 5:55 to play.
The only field goal in the final five minutes for the Cougars was a layup by Emery with 4:15 on the clock to extend the advantage to 73-64. For the rest of the game, clutch free-throw shooting and defensive rebounds sealed the 79-71 win
The Cougars head back on the road next Saturday to face Illinois in the Chicago Bulls’ United Center. The game will be live on the Big Ten Network at 8:30 p.m. CST along with radio on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and Sirius XM 143.
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