BYU men’s basketball topples Coppin State

Ari Davis
Eric Mika shoots a free-throw in the game against Coppin State. Mika led all scorers with 18 points. (Ari Davis)

BYU men’s basketball moved to 2-0 on the season with a convincing 96-59 win over the Coppin State Eagles Thursday night at the Marriott Center.

Coppin State didn’t provide any challenges for BYU, but it did provide opportunities, particularly to get meaningful minutes for some of BYU’s bench players.

“I think the biggest takeaway from this game was that it was good to get a lot of players out there,” said BYU head coach Dave Rose.

One player who made the most of their time off the bench was true freshman Yoeli Childs. Childs scored eight points and ended the night with 15 rebounds.

“Everybody just boxed out and most of the time the ball just fell my way,” Childs said.

Rose heaped praise upon his young forward.

“Yoeli’s 15 rebounds tonight were pretty impressive,” Rose said. “Not only can he stay on the floor, as far as competing and staying out of foul trouble, but he’s actually really having an impact on the game.”

Fellow post player Eric Mika continued his strong play to start the season. Mika led all scorers with 18 points and added five rebounds in just 15 minutes of play.

The Cougar frontcourt is shaping up to be one of the best BYU has seen in years.

“Our big guys are going to be a real strength and factor with this team,” Rose said.

From the opening tip-off, the game was never in doubt. The Cougars quickly took a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game and never looked back, with Rose going to his bench around the eight-minute mark.

Beating Coppin State doesn’t have the cache of beating a Gonzaga, or even a Princeton. Coppin State is similar to the competition BYU faced during exhibition. They have yet to win a game this season and now move to 0-4 with tonight’s loss to BYU.

But there are still lessons to be learned even in manageable games. The cougars allowed 19 offensive rebounds and had 22 turnovers. With Coppin State, the turnovers didn’t translate into points on the other end, but against better competition, 22 turnovers could be the difference between a win and a loss.

“I think we were just trying to overshare the ball when we were out there, not necessarily bad passes,” guard Elijah Bryant said.

The Cougars won’t have much time to correct their mistakes, because they face another quick turnaround and will take on Coastal Carolina at the Marriott Center on Saturday.

However, Yoeli Childs is embracing the quick turnaround.

“We’re just ready to go, I wish we were playing right now,” Childs said.

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