Aggressive play leads to dominant bounce-back victory for BYU over Pepperdine

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BYU freshman TJ Haws drives to the basketball through three Pepperdine defenders. Haws tallied 8 points and 6 assists in the 99–70 win over Pepperdine Thursday night in the Marriott Center. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

BYU bounced back from a disappointing conference loss last week with a offensive dominant 99–70 win over Pepperdine in the Marriott Center Thursday night.

“We definitely do a good job of sticking together as a team, both coaches and players,” said Eric Mika, BYU sophomore forward, “all of us sticking together and trusting in our ability to bounce back and play better and learn from the mistakes we made in our losses, so I think we’ve done an awesome job of that. I’m happy to be part of a team that can do it because it is not as easy as it looks.”

Mika led the team with a double-double (22 points and 10 rebounds) in a game that gave all 14 members on the roster a chance to play. No one player spent more than 23 minutes on the court while the shortest amount of time was 4 minutes. That could be because, despite all the starters sitting the bench with 8 minutes remaining in the game, the offensive onslaught continued.

“When this team plays with the right mindset and they’re aggressively attacking and sharing the ball, we’re much better offensively,” said BYU coach Dave Rose.

Aggressive was the key word for the game. BYU was unforgivingly aggressive on offense. They were attentively aggressive on defense. And they were consistently aggressive in rebounding.

“When this team plays with the right mindset and they’re aggressively attacking and sharing the ball, we’re much better offensively.” — Dave Rose, BYU basketball coach

BYU out rebounded Pepperdine 55 to 32. Of those rebounds, 17 were offensive rebounds and those rebounds were converted into 16 second-chance points.

“There’s no question that one of our top three things tonight was to be the aggressive teams,” Rose said. … “That’s a mindset and that’s something you can control as a player how consistent you are at that.”

Rose commended BYU freshman Yoeli Childs for leading the team with 14 rebounds, but also gave credit to Mika and the guards who chased down the balls that bounced far from the basket.

En route to a dominate win, BYU sophomore Nick Emery broke Jimmer Fredette’s record for most 3s made in consecutive games — Emery’s current running streak is 29 games. Emery finished the night with 10 points.

“If you can break any of Jimmer’s records, you’re probably doing something good,” Rose said. “Nick is a really aggressive player. Tonight he got himself into a little bit of foul trouble, but he had a really tough assignment. I think that’s where he’s really growing. He’s growing in his ability to take the tough defender and still being able to score for us.”

BYU next travels for a game against Pacific on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 4 p.m. MST.

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Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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