BYU (13-5, 4-1 West Coast Conference) never trailed in the win and was tied with San Francisco (11-7, 1-4 WCC) just once. The Cougars shot 56 percent while holding the Dons to 43 percent and just 24 percent from beyond the arc.
Eric Mika notched a career-high 31 points, along with grabbing 12 boards for his 10th double-double of the season. Fellow sophomore Nick Emery had 22 points and a team-high two steals in the game. Senior L.J. Rose paced the team with a game-high five assists, five rebounds and two points. Coming off the bench, Elijah Bryant contributed 14 points on 4 of 7 shooting, along with five rebounds and three assists.
Yoeli Childs got the offense going with two quick buckets to make it 4-0 early in the game. After Childs hustled to get the ball on the ground and avoid a turnover, Emery drilled a 3-pointer to push the lead to 7-2 with 17:42 on the clock.
The Dons tied the game at 7-7, but then fouled Emery behind the arc. The sophomore guard hit three free throws and took back a 10-7 lead, sparking an 11-0 run. With 12:27 until the break, a layup from Bryant capped off the run, extending the lead to 18-7.
Firing back, San Francisco scored seven unanswered points in one minute to cut the lead to 25-20. However, Emery stopped the run by cutting through the defenders for an easy layup, making it 27-20 with 8:54 until halftime.
The teams traded baskets for the rest of the half, neither able to put together a big run. After missing his first attempt, Rose grabbed the offensive board and put it in for two points with 2:40 on the clock, pushing it to 36-30. Only one more basket was scored until two seconds were left when Mika hit a pair of free throws to take a 38-32 advantage into the locker room.
Mika got things rolling for the Cougars out of the break, scoring the first nine points for BYU. His spin move to the basket with 16:48 to play pushed the advantage to 47-41 for the home team.
After four minutes of trading buckets, San Francisco put together five-straight points to force a BYU timeout. The Dons were within six points until free throws from Bryant and TJ Haws pushed the advantage. Childs dished the ball to Mika for a dunk to get back to a double-digit lead, 61-50, with 10:16 to play.
Mika continued to dominate the second half, scoring six points in a minute and a half for BYU. His layup at the 5:44 mark put the Cougars up 67-58. He scored 23 points in the second half.
After scoring 18 in the first half, Emery did not make a field goal until he drilled a 3-pointer with 4:18 to play. A couple minutes later, Bryant hit a trey of his own to extend the lead to 74-62 with less than three minutes to play.
San Francisco made it closer late, drawing a couple of trips to the charity stripe to get within single digits with less than a minute to play. However, a breakaway dunk from Mika that helped him eclipse the 30-point mark sealed the 85-75 win.
The Cougars hit the road on Saturday to take on San Diego in the Jenny Craig Pavilion at 7 p.m. PST. The game will be televised live on Spectrum SportsNet and ROOT Rocky Mountain. The radio broadcast will be live on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
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