PROVO, Utah – Sophomore Eric Mika helped lift the Cougars to a 102-82 victory over Seattle Pacific in exhibition play Saturday night at the Marriot Center.
Mika led BYU in scoring with 23 points and added a game-high 12 rebounds. He was followed by Nick Emery, who had 21 points throughout the course of the evening, and six rebounds. Freshman TJ Haws boosted the Cougars throughout the game with 19 points, a game-high 10 assists and five rebounds. Fellow freshman Steven Beo added an additional 15 points to the board, shooting 5-of-6 from the field.
BYU started the game with a quick two-point jumper from Haws, but Seattle Pacific then followed with an 8-0 run in the first two minutes to take a 10-4 lead early.
A Kyle Davis block helped the Cougars gain the momentum and BYU went on a 10-0 run to retake the lead at 14-10 in the sixth minute after back-to-back jump shots from Emery.
With a pair of triples from Haws and a dunk from Yoeli Childs, BYU took its first 10-point lead of the game, 24-14, with 12:32 remaining the half.
The Falcons found the net again in the 11th minute with a 3-point field goal, but Mika’s three-consecutive lay-ins put the Cougars up 32-21 over Seattle Pacific.
Payton Dastrup and Childs extended the lead with two dunks, bringing the score to 40-29 with under six minutes to go.
In the last minute of the first half the Falcons scored consecutive buckets, and Mika closed the period with a two-point jumper, allowing BYU to end the half with a 55-46 lead.
Seattle Pacific entered the second half strong, hitting a 3-pointer to come within six of the Cougars at 55-49.
After Beo made his first trey of the game, BYU extended its advantage to 16 points in the seventh minute of the half at 71-55.
Seattle Pacific followed with a 6-0 streak. The Cougars then ended their one-minute scoring drought with a dunk from Mika, giving his team a 73-61 advantage. With 10 minutes remaining, Beo hit his second shot from downtown, quickly followed by a jumper from Emery and another from Beo.
Both teams shot free throws for a two-minute span until Kyle Davis nailed a jump shot with under four minutes left in the game to put the Cougars up 91-76.
Braiden Shaw followed up a missed shot in the final seconds of the game to make it 100-82. Davin Guinn’s pair of free throws closed out the game, giving BYU a 102-82 win—the Cougars largest lead of the exhibition matchup.
The Cougars' second and final exhibition game will take place in the Marriott Center on Wednesday Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on BYUtv and audio broadcasts can be heard on the Cougar IMG Network, KSL Radio (1160 AM and 102.7 FM) and BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143).
BYU Coach Dave Rose
"The biggest take away for us as coaches was how young and new we are as far as playing together goes. It really showed defensively in the first half. All the things we work on and emphasize in practice, you turn those lights on and the first guy makes a mistake and all the other guys are trying to catch up. It led to a high scoring half. It’s pretty safe to say we’re a better offensive team than we are a defensive team. I think that’s where we’ll start on Monday."
"I liked their effort and togetherness. I like the way they share the ball, support and encourage each other. You can tell they’re excited to play. You get excited to play in an exhibition game and that’s a good feeling from a coach’s standpoint. There were good individual performances. I think getting Eric and TJ back on the court were good things. To have them actually play well offensively in the first game back is good for their confidence. You can see how gifted Steven Beo is as far as scoring is concerned. Yoeli was having a hard time with fouls being called against him, but the minutes he plays are really impressive to us. I think those are adjustments you can make."
BYU Sophomore Eric Mika
"It was definitely nerve wracking getting back out there because it’s been a long time. I talked to Coach Rose and he gave me some pointers and some things to focus on so I didn’t overthink it. I just needed to focus on what I do best and helping the team like I do in practice. The team did a great job coming together. There are a lot of things we need to work on, but there are a lot of things we did well. As soon as we got in the game and started making stops, those jitters and nerves went away pretty quickly."
BYU Guard Steven Beo
"Our unselfishness is one of the things we pride ourselves on. Our ability to share the ball, get each other shots and make starts for ourselves is incredible. Our unselfishness will win us a lot of games."
Seattle Pacific Coach Grant Leep
"I was really happy with how hard our guys competed and that was something we wanted to see going in. That was really our big thing. We still wanted to make this week and preparation about us. It was good with the new staff to talk about game prep and the things we want to do, but we still wanted to focus on us and how we could get better. For as young as a group that we have, I was extremely pleased with how hard they competed."
"We talked a lot about our identity as a team and who we are and we only have three seniors, but they are all really good leaders, so they have helped to bring the other guys along pretty quickly. In practice, we just hold them all accountable for what we need. We sit and talk about stuff and what it means to be a part of our program."
"Tony Miller came off the bench and was really good for us. He has shown flashes of that in practice. Coleman Wooten is a guy for us as a sophomore and we need him to be able to score for us this year. Our bigs are such good shooters, so Rassmussen, Simpson– some of the looks that they give us just help our offense so much. Olivier-Paul Betu is another senior that can get on a run and do things for us. Will Parker kind of just runs the show for us. He is really smart and he can handle it and so we give him a lot. It’s only October and we have already given him a lot on his plate and he has handled it all in stride and been an unbelievable leader for us."
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