The BYU men’s basketball team lost 114-101 in a huge upset win for Mark Pope’s Utah Valley University Wolverines in the UCCU Crosstown Clash Saturday evening in the Marriott Center. This marks the first time BYU has ever lost to UVU.
“We kind of got flustered,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “A real issue for us the last few games has been trying to keep our composure.”
BYU was stunned in a game that many thought would be a guaranteed win for BYU. Statistical analyst Ken Pomeroy gave BYU a 99 percent chance to win the game against the sub-300 RPI Wolverines.
The Cougars started out with a steady lead over UVU in the opening minutes of the game. Midway through the first half UVU went on a scoring run, hitting five 3-pointers in a row, to take a 10-point lead over BYU.
“Just from the beginning, they came out with a lot of energy, a lot of intensity, made a lot of threes,” forward Kyle Davis said. “Give them a lot of credit.”
BYU went into the half trailing 52-54. Nick Emery and Eric Mika were BYU’s only saving grace. Emery went into the half with 20 points, Mika added 12 more and no other BYU player had more than six.
Isaac Nielson, a former Cougar, led the way for UVU in the first half with 10 points. BYU head coach Dave Rose asked Nielson to transfer after the 2014-15 season and ended up following Pope to Orem.
The Cougars were able to tie in the opening play of the second half, but after a quick jumper from Nielson, the cougars would trail the remainder of the game.
The Wolverines led by as many as 16 points in the second half, shooting 52 percent from the field and nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc as well.
Emery and Mika continued to carry BYU in the second half with Emery ending the night with a season-high 37 points. Mika added 22 points before fouling out in the closing minutes of the game. Freshman TJ Haws had an off night, finishing with just six points and shooting 1-10 from the field and 0-4 from 3-point range.
“We can’t put this BYU jersey on think we’re just going to win games just because we’re BYU,” Emery said. “It takes a lot more than that. We’ll move on. We’ll get better.”
On the other side of the ball, Nielson led the Wolverines with 26 points and nine rebounds.
UVU deals BYU its second straight loss of the season. The Cougars will have a few days to try to right the ship before taking on in-state opponent Utah State at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.