Chicago – In their final road test before starting WCC play, the BYU Cougars fell just short of an impressive comeback against Illinois in the Chicago Legends Event.
Down by two points with four seconds remaining in the game, Nick Emery took the ball floor length and chucked up a prayer in hopes of sending the Cougars to victory. As the ball sailed through the air, it appeared to have been going in, but the attempt was just off the mark as the Cougars fell 75-73.
Struggling on both ends of the floor, the Cougars fell behind in the first half when Eric Mika went to the bench with foul trouble. BYU fell behind by sixteen points with 4:37 remaining in the first half. Closing the half on a 12-2 run, the Cougars were able to make it a two possession game headed into the locker room.
The Cougars were able to use that momentum to keep the score close throughout the rest of the game, but were never able to pull ahead despite the efforts of Eric Mika and Nick Emery.
Mika continued his impressive post-mission performance by posting 25 points on 9/12 shooting from the field and 7/8 from the charity stripe. Mika also added 8 boards to his total. Emery added 16 points as well as 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
There wasn’t much help from the bench as they only made two field goals in the game, both coming from Colby Leifson who was 2/2 beyond the arc, providing a spark for the Cougars who finished the game 7/22 from three-point range.
While they struggled early, big-time threes helped the Cougars down the stretch. LJ Rose hit two big shots – a three and a long two – in the final :17 seconds of the game to give BYU a chance before Emery’s final shot came up short.
The Cougars return home and will face Idaho State on Tuesday at 7 pm.