STOCKTON, Calif. – BYU put together its best defensive effort of the season to come away with a 62-47 win against the Pacific Tigers at Alex G. Spanos Center on Saturday.
“I thought we were so together in everything we did,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I thought our pace offensively was good and our spacing was good. I thought our guys communicated on both ends. They were talking to each other. There are so many factors that go into trying to have a group be able to go out on the road and win games.”
TJ Haws finished the contest close behind Mika with 16 points to go with three rebounds and five assists. Elijah Bryant logged nine points, and Nick Emery finished with eight. Yoeli Childs led all players with 14 rebounds to go with seven points, and Steven Beo and Braiden Shaw each contributed two points in the effort.
“That was a weird BYU score for sure,” Childs said. “A 20-point win usually means the other team scores around 60 or 70. We’ll take it and it was a good step up for us on defense. That was really positive.”
Haws started strong and opened up the scoring for the Cougars, but BYU trailed the Tigers at the first media break, 7-6. Nine-straight Cougar points put them back on top 15-7 at the 12:56 mark.
Haws found his ninth and 10th points of the game with 10:30 remaining, but Pacific continued to chip away at the Cougar lead. A 9-0 Tiger spurt tied the game at 17 with just over five minutes to go. Points from Mika, Beo, Bryant and Shaw then sent BYU on an 11-0 run and back on top with the 28-17 lead.
Free throws and a late 3-pointer for Pacific sent BYU into the locker room with a 7-point edge over the Tigers, 29-22.
The half started slow for the Cougars, but Emery found the basket three times in 90 seconds for eight quick points to give BYU a 9-point lead.
A monster dunk, plus an and-one, from Mika at the 12:26 mark lengthened the lead to double-digits again at 45-33, and the Tigers would not manage to break down the Cougar advantage for the remainder of the game.
Both teams went scoreless for nearly three minutes starting at the 8:46 mark, but Childs finally took the lid off the basket with a jumper with 5:53 remaining. The Cougars reached their large lead of the game at the 4:57 mark, a 19-point advantage at 58-39, and the final minutes of the game saw additional points from Bryant, Mika and Childs.
“I think we are playing more on attack,” Childs said. “Coach has emphasized playing more aggressive and keeping the other team on their heels. I think the last couple of games we’ve done a great job getting the ball up in the net quick and just attacking.”
The Cougars will stay on the road for their next contest against the Santa Clara Broncos on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. PST. The game will be televised on ESPNU, and radio options include the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and BYUradio – Sirius XM 143.
Yoeli Childs had two blocks, giving him 35 on the year, passing Corbin Kaufusi for third-most by a Cougar freshman. He also grabbed 14 rebounds, giving him back-to-back games with 14 boards and seventh game with double-digit rebounds this season. Childs added seven points, one assist and one steal.
TJ Haws hit three 3-pointers in the game to make it 45 for the season, passing Mark Bigelow for third-most by a BYU freshman. It also gives him 10 games with at least three treys, tied with Zac Seljaas for second-most by a Cougar freshman. Haws finished with 16 points.
Nick Emery extended his BYU-record streak to 30 games with a made 3-pointer. He finished with two threes and eight points.
Eric Mika had two blocks in the first half, giving him multiple blocks in 11 games this year. Mika finished with three blocks. He also scored 17 points, giving him double-digit scoring in all 21 games.
Mika also posted his seventh-consecutive double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds for a total of 13 this year. The most consecutive double-doubles in BYU history are Kresimir Cosic and Bruce Burton with 10 and Mika and John Fairchild with seven.
Corbin Kaufusi put up a season-best two blocks in the first half.
Dave Rose started a lineup of L.J. Rose, Nick Emery, TJ Haws, Yoeli Childs and Eric Mika. The team improved to 11-4 with that starting group.
BYU had just two players score in double figures for only the fourth time this season, moving to 2-2 on the year when that happens.
The Cougars won scoring just 62 points, the lowest output for the season. However, the BYU defense allowed only 47 points, also a season-low. The last time the team held an opponent to 50 points or less was last season’s 91-33 win against San Diego.
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