The BYU men’s basketball regained some confidence after Saturday’s tough loss to USC with a solid 77-66 win over in-state opponent Weber State Wednesday night in the Marriott Center.
“I thought it was a really hard-fought game, pretty competitive on both ends,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I thought defensively it was pretty physical.”
Wildcats’ head coach Randy Rahe had a strong defensive game plan, aiming to limit BYU star center Eric Mika. Mika was defended very physically by Weber State center Zach Braxton.
“(Mika) was being pushed around a lot,” Rose said. “A lot of contact. Braxton’s a big strong guy.”
Mika was limited to just five points and two rebounds in the first half of the game.
“The first half I came out super flat. I think i did alright on defense, but offensively I was just slow and then that translated to the defensive end,” Mika said. “So I really wasn’t playing good on either side of the ball.”
But while Mika was struggling, freshman guard TJ Haws seemingly found his rhythm. Haws had been struggling offensively for his last few games, but put up 12 points in the first have, giving BYU a 37-28 lead going into halftime.
Rahe was effective in changing the tempo on the Cougars. Rose described the contest as “really slow paced” and BYU had to be much more deliberate in its shot selection. The Cougars attempted just 11 3-pointers in the game.
“I think coach wants the three’s to come inside-out,” senior forward Kyle Davis said. “Coach wants us to shoot good shots and it’s just making those threes the best shots we can.”
In the second half, Weber State was able to tie the game 47-47. Then Mika exploded.
Mika scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the second half, finishing the game with a double-double (26 points, 10 rebounds). He added four assists and one block.
Now the Cougars are looking to carry their momentum into Saturday’s game with the Colorado Buffaloes.
“Basketball is a big confidence game and so you know this is going to boost our confidence,” Mika said. “If we can just roll things over into the next game we’ll be successful.”
Colorado is 7-2 on the season. BYU sits at 6-3. The Cougars and Buffaloes tip off at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10.