Mika, Emery lead Cougars past Dons

The Cougars ran to an 85-75 win behind Eric Mika and Nick Emery who combined for 53 points.
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo

PROVO – It was a warm welcome for the BYU Basketball team when they returned to the Marriott Center Thursday night. The Cougars (13-5, 4-1 WCC) were able to overwhelm the visiting San Francisco Dons (11-7, 1-4 WCC) behind strong first half play from Nick Emery on the offensive end, which was then continued in the second half by Eric Mika as the Cougars cruised to an 85-75 win.

“I’m really glad we won,” said Coach Rose. “We got off to a good start, but as the game went on, I thought their execution was tremendous. We tried to do some things with our personnel and they did a great job exploiting the matchups.”

BYU opened up the scoring with two quick jumpers from Yoeli Childs, but it didn’t take long for Emery to take over. Emery shot well beyond the arc to give the Cougars an added spark and finished the first half with 18 points while shooting 75% from the field.

Emery has dominated in three games against the Dons, averaging 26.7 points per game, 65% shooting from the field, and 71% from beyond the arc. Thursday, Emery finished with 22 points.

“San Francisco’s defense laid off me a little bit in the first half and I got open shots and was able to knock them down,” Emery said. “I attribute that to my bigs and my guards getting the ball to me at the right time.”

The Dons tried to stay within reach, but the Cougars used a 15-3 run following the under 16 media timeout to get the boost they needed. Emery started the scoring when he was fouled on a three pointer and sank all three free throws, and followed that up with a steal and a break away lay up. During the run, Emery had seven points.

San Francisco was able to slowly claw back, bringing the game within four points, before Eric Mika extended the league to six points after making two free throws with two seconds left in the half.

It was the momentum he needed to take over in the second half.

Mika scored the first nine points in the second half for the Cougars, keeping the Dons at bay as they tried to make their way back into the game.

Mika finished the second half with 23 points for a career-high 31 points in the game.

“I felt that I was able to finish some shots that normally I’ve been trying to go up and draw the foul. I was trying to draw too much contact instead of just finishing. But, at the end of the day, my guys were just finding me,” said Mika. “I attribute it to them.”

The Cougars also received a jump start from Elijah Bryant who led the Cougars in minutes played with 33. Bryant finished the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.

The Cougars will next head to sunny San Diego to face the Toreros who lost a close 59-57 game to Santa Clara to fall to 8-9 on the season and 1-4 in WCC play. The game will be broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network and can be heard on 102.7 FM with Greg Wrubell on the call.

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