Cougar defensive effort leads to road win over Tigers

The BYU Cougars beat the Pacific Tigers 62-47 with a dominant defensive outing to improve to 6-2 in WCC play.
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo

STOCKTON, CA – In a mid-afternoon game, BYU (15-6, 6-2 WCC) struggled to find consistency in their offensive play scoring just 62 points, but held Pacific (8-13, 2-6 WCC) to 47 points in a strong defensive effort. The Cougars improved to 6-2 in conference play with the win.

Both teams struggled to find a rhythm early in the game. TJ Haws set the pace for the Cougars early on with ten points in the first ten minutes of the contest and in that time, the teams had combined for just 25 points. With 10:30 remaining, BYU led by nine points – 17-8 – but the Tigers clawed their way back in with a 9-0 run over the next 4:41 to tied the game up at 17-all.

BYU found some comfort behind an 11-0 run on their own, before Pacific responded by outscoring the Cougars 5-1 to close out the half. BYU went to the locker room leading 29-22.

The Cougars entered the second half trading blows with the Tigers, unable to find a comfortable lead, until Nick Emery hit back-to-back threes to put the Cougars up by nine – 37-28 – with 16 minutes left in the game. Emery extended his streak of games with a made three-point shot to 30.

From there, BYU never looked back, never allowing Pacific to find their way into the game. The Cougars held to the Tigers 31% shooting from the field and just 19% on three-point shots.

The one blow the Cougars suffered was the loss of Nick Emery with 14:34 left in the game. Emery suffered a non-contact injury after recording a steal. Emery never returned to the game.

Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune reported that team trainer, Rob Ramos, said the injury would be further evaluated on Sunday. The initial diagnosis was an injury to the left knee.

Eric Mika led the way for the Cougars with 17 points and 12 rebounds while TJ Haws finished the game with 16 points and five assists. Yoeli Childs added seven points and 14 rebounds – his second consecutive 14 rebound game.

Mika’s double-double marks his seventh-straight game reaching double figures in scoring and rebounding.

BYU will next head to Santa Clara (11-10, 5-3 WCC) to face the Broncos in their second matchup of the season. The game will determine third place in the WCC standings. In their previous meeting, BYU dominated Santa Clara 89-59.

That game will tip off at 9 pm MT and can be watched on ESPNU or heard on the Cougar IMG Sports Network (102.7 FM, 1160 AM, 143 SiriusXM) with Greg Wrubell on the call.

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