BYU basketball picks up big win over Colorado

Ari Davis
TJ Haws drives against Colorado. Haws scored 16 points in the win. (Ari Davis)

The BYU basketball team picked up a big win over the Colorado Buffaloes 79-71 on Saturday night in the Marriott Center.

The win is a resume builder for the Cougars, who are still trying to cover up an embarrassing loss to UVU.

“I thought it was a great crowd, good energy in the building. I thought both teams played really hard and I think it was a pretty entertaining and exciting game,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said.

The Buffaloes came into the game with a lot of momentum, having only two losses on the season before tonight. Colorado took down No. 13 Xavier on Wednesday night.

BYU hasn’t had a marquee win to hang its hat on since the Princeton game, but this win over Colorado will garner respect from the selection committee in March.  

It was a return to form for the BYU backcourt. After the Weber State game, BYU head coach Dave Rose talked about how the guards are “really tense right now.” The BYU guards found a way to ease the tension and play loose shooting 9-19 from beyond the arc against Colorado.

Sophomore guard Nick Emery lead BYU during the first half with 13 points, shooting 5-8 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc. Yoeli Childs was also very productive during the first half with 8 points and 7 rebounds.

In the opening minutes of the second half, the Cougars went on a 7-0 run to take a 10 point 52-42 lead over the Buffs. BYU went cold for five minutes and allowed Colorado to answer back, going on a 10-0 run to take the lead. The game was neck and neck before BYU went on an 8-0 run to regain the lead that it would keep the rest of the game.

The Cougars were very efficient on offense, shooting 44 percent from the field and knocking down nearly 50 percent of their 3-point attempts. BYU has struggled this year on the defensive end, but the Cougars rallied tonight. They got in passing lanes, forced 16 turnovers and made hustle plays on defense down the stretch.

“I think we’re a good defensive team and what it takes is a defensive mentality,” freshman guard TJ Haws said. “I think we came out tough tonight and we made hustle plays and I thought our defense was much better tonight.

Nick Emery led all scorers with 22 points. Eric Mika added another 17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks to finish out the game, despite dealing with food poisoning earlier in the week. Haws scored 16 points, going 4-5 from beyond the arc.

“I really felt like tonight was one of the best all-around performances of this group,” Rose said. “Every guy that played gave supreme effort.”

The Cougars will have a week to rest and recover before getting set to take on another strong competitor in Illinois next Saturday in Chicago.

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