BYU bounces back with win over Utah State

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Eric Mika shoots over a Utah State defender. Mika
Eric Mika shoots over a Utah State defender. Mika scored 20 points and pulled in seven rebounds in BYU’s victory. (Ryan Turner)

The BYU men’s basketball team bounced back from Saturday’s tough loss with a convincing 77-63 win over the Utah State Aggies Wednesday night at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.

BYU found success playing unselfish team basketball. The Cougars were able to share the ball and get a number of players involved in the offense.

BYU didn’t share the ball effectively in Saturday’s stunning loss to Utah Valley, with Nick Emery taking on much of the offensive load. Tonight, four Cougars scored in double figures, with Eric Mika scoring 20 points and adding seven boards.

In the beginning moments of the game, it seemed as though the Cougars’ defensive woes would continue to haunt them when the Aggies quickly took a 5-0 lead to start. But BYU went on to score eight unanswered points and would never trail in the game again.

BYU was able to find success despite losing two players to injury. Senior forward Kyle Davis, a transfer from Utah State, did not suit up to take on his former team due to injury. Sophomore guard Elijah Bryant also did not play due to a knee injury. Both players are expected back in the coming weeks.

Getting the start in Davis’ absence was true freshman Yoeli Childs, who was cleaning up the boards for the Cougars. Childs ended the night with 12 rebounds and nine points.

Starting guard TJ Haws continued to struggle offensively. Haws went 2-8 from the field and 0-4 from beyond the arc, scoring just six points.

With Haws having a rough night, other players stepped up to get the win. L.J. Rose came up huge for the Cougars and was one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 18 points, adding nine rebounds and six assists.

Another bright spot from the bench was sophomore forward Braiden Shaw who scored 10 points and was perfect from the floor.

BYU corrected many of the mistakes it committed against UVU. The Cougars played effective defense and won the rebound battle, 55-31. BYU shared the ball on offense and involved more players in their offensive sets.

The Cougars will need to continue this kind of play as they head to Los Angeles this weekend to take on a very talented USC team that is currently undefeated. A win over USC will dramatically help BYU’s chances of making the NCAA tournament.

BYU will take on the Trojans Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Staples Center in the inaugural Hoophall LA basketball showcase on ESPNU.