Cougars use outstanding defensive play to stifle Broncos

PROVO – The BYU basketball program has long been known for dynamic offensive play under Coach Dave Rose but in the first game of WCC play, it was the play on the other end of the court which led to a lopsided game and a 1-0 start in conference play where the Cougars beat the Santa Clara Broncos 89-59.

Holding the visiting Broncos to just 30% shooting from the field and 23% beyond the arc, there wasn’t much Santa Clara could get going throughout the game.

Taking off on a tear with 13:08 left in the first half, BYU outscored Santa Clara 16-2 over the next 5:57 behind great play in transition on both ends of the floor.

Heading into the locker room, BYU led 44-26.

The Cougars were led in the win by Eric Mika who scored 19 points and TJ Haws who added 17, but it was the play of Nick Emery that made the biggest difference.

Emery finished the game with 7 points – well below his season average of 15.7 – but stifled Jared Brownridge who is one of the most prolific scorers in the conference. Brownridge was held to 8 points – where he has been averaging 18.5 points per game.

Emery’s play set the pace for the Cougars on the defensive end of the court and was crucial in leading BYU to only their second win to open conference play since joining the WCC.

The Cougars will hit the road to next face Loyola Marymount for a Saturday afternoon game.

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