BYU fans found an old friend in the Marriott Center on Thursday night — a high-scoring Nick Emery.
Emery led the Cougars with 26 points in BYU’s 82–70 win over San Diego and found his hot shooting hand from his freshman season in the process.
With difficult defensive assignments this season — Emery is often assigned to defend the opponents best player — Emery’s offensive game has taken a hit this year. But Emery found his stride in the Thursday night’s game.
“What I thought was good was our guys were looking for him,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “A couple of those were in transition. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Nick like that. I think that should give us all a big lift.”
The return of Nick Emery saw perfect first half shooting stats from the field, which included 5-of-5 shooting from the arc. He ended the first half with 17 points and had 26 points at the end of the game.
“What I thought was good was our guys were looking for him. A couple of those were in transition. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Nick like that. I think that should give us all a big lift.” — BYU coach Dave Rose
“I got open shots and was able to knock them down,” Emery said. “We were a little stagnant in the first half, but we were able to knock down a couple and get it going.”
Emery was one of five players who scored in double digits, which Rose sees as a problem. Those five players — Eric Mika (15), Elijah Bryant (15), TJ Haws (12) and Yoeli Childs (12) — are the starting five for the Cougars. BYU’s bench, on the other hand, only scored two points. In last week’s win over San Francisco, there was only 1 bench point.
“We’ve got our iron 5 that play really well until we find some guys that can give us a lift,” Rose said. “Our bench is giving us a lift, but not in points. We’re getting a lot of energy.”
The Cougars snatched the momentum at the beginning of the game pulling ahead on a on a Nick Emery 3-point rampage by as much as 17 points. However, the Toreros stole the momentum for the towards the end of the first quarter and inched their way with seven points of the Cougars.
Beating the buzzer, BYU freshman TJ Haws knocked down a long 3-point shot to reclaim the momentum going into the locker room at halftime up 45–38.
“He knew the clock and got to where wanted and delivered a shot,” Rose said. … It was a big play.”
— BYU Basketball (@BYUbasketball) February 17, 2017
Earlier this season, the Cougars lost to San Diego (11-15, 4-10) in California 88-75.
“I think we learn well from our losses and we are able to learn from our mistakes in the game,” Emery said. “We’re a young team, but we’re learning how to play with each other. That’s the fun part is you’ve got to figure it out. People have got to still believe. We’ve got a few more years together.”
The Cougars advance to 19–9 overall and 10–5 in the West Coast Conference. BYU next plays No. 22 Saint Mary’s in the Marriott Center Saturday night at 8 p.m.