Freshman Eric Mika won the dunk contest at the inaugural Boom Shakalaka: The BYU Basketball Showcase. For more photos, check out the gallery on Facebook.com/BYUBasketball. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
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PROVO, Utah – In front of 4,500 people and a national television audience, the BYU men's and women's basketball programs put on a show Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Players competed in three different competitions: a 3-point challenge, a skills competition and a dunk contest. Both the 3-point and dunk contest were won by newcomers to the Cougars for this season. Freshman forward Eric Mika won the dunk contest with a little showmanship over fellow freshman Frank Bartley IV.
Salt Lake Community College transfer Skyler Halford rode a hot streak to victory in the 3-point competition downing junior Tyler Haws.
In the skills competition, four different teams consisting of a men's player, a women's player and a fan dribbled, shot and passed their way around the court. Junior Matt Carlino, women's sophomore guard Lexi Eaton and fan Greg Baker made it around the court in 47.4 seconds, 17 seconds quicker than any of the other three teams.
Mika and Bartley made it out of the first round of the dunk competition with the only 50s of the night. For Bartley's 50 he dunked over Mika, just getting his left leg over the big man and the ball in the hoop on the first try. Mika countered with a slam coming from behind the backboard that Tyler Haws bounced off the back side of the glass while Mika grabbed the ball and threw down on the front side. Those dunks broke a three-way tie of 49s that included Josh Sharp who dunked over his wife after she tossed the ball in the air.
In the finals, Bartley couldn't get a dunk to drop, but he still had Mika frightened with what could have been a through the legs masterpiece. Mika took the opportunity to get fellow freshman Luke Worthington involved on a mini bike. Worthington rode it out and parked it on the low block. He threw the ball off the backboard from the opposite side of the lane and Mika was successful on his second try for a contest-winning 45.
Mika wasn't concerned about not being able to defend his title for his remaining years at BYU.
"I know this was only my first year and I didn't have too much time to think about the dunks," Mika said. "I think while I'm on my mission I'll have two years to think about dunks every once in a while."
The winning dunk came from some food, ideas and assistant coach Mark Pope.
"He gave me the mini bike and then we were just brainstorming at dinner right before we came over here and I just thought that's the perfect idea."
In the 3-point contest, Halford outshot Haws thanks to two racks in the finals. Halford was trailing on pace when we hit the wing. He got his shot right and made eight straight, misfiring on the first on the wing and the moneyball in the corner. That spurt put him in first with 19, beating Haws' 16 and his own 17 from the first round.
"I guess it was just in my mind that I had to hit a lot of these shots in the last two racks to win, because Tyler got a really good score and I wasn’t doing so well in the beginning," Halford said. "I just kind of put them up there and they went in."
Halford and Mika were excited by the crowd.
"I’ve never played in front of that many people before, high school or college," Halford said. "It was fun to get going on that last rack and hear the crowd get louder and louder."
Mika said, "this got me really excited for the season. I don't even know how many people were here but it's not even close to how the Marriott Center is during a game."
Both Mika and Halford will get their first taste of the Marriott Center on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in the Cougar Tipoff. The intrasquad scrimmage will start at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center and will be streamed on BYUtvsports.com.
For more photos, check out the gallery on Facebook.com/BYUBasketball.