PROVO — The BYU Cougars used a dominating inside game to knock off the Idaho State Bengals 84-58 in the Marriott Center Tuesday night.
Eric Mika led the way for the Cougars with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor to go along with 12 rebounds, while Yoeli Childs added 13 points and 14 rebounds.
TJ Haws also had a nice night with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting with six assists and three rebounds as the Cougars improved to 8-4.
Ethan Telfair paced the Bengals with 13 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals while Geno Luzcando chipped in with 11 points and seven boards.
Why the Cougars won
The Cougars owned the paint from start to finish. They jumped out to an early 11-point lead thanks to four quick baskets from Mika and never looked back. When they weren't scoring inside, the Cougars moved the basketball to get uncontested jumpers.
The turning point
L.J. Rose caught fire from the outside in the latter part of the first half as he knocked down three 3-pointers as the Cougars extended the lead to 16.
What it means
The Cougars returned home and got back in the win column after a tough loss to Illinois. It was a good tune-up game to get ready for West Coast Conference play.
On a night where he clearly wasn't at full strength, Nick Emery gutted out 32 minutes and totaled nine points, three assists and three steals.
Grading the performances
The Cougars did everything they needed to do to come away with the necessary home win. They shared the ball at a high rate, did an excellent job on the glass and played solid defense.
On the down side, they still turned the ball over too much, committing 18 miscues.
The Bengals fought hard and did some nice things but didn't have enough firepower to stay close.
After converting on 6 of 13 shots from beyond the arc in the first half, they hit just 4 of 19 in the second.
Three telling stats
The Cougars assisted on 21 of 30 made baskets, including 18 assists from the starters. It is their sixth game of the season with at least 20 assists.
BYU won the battle on the backboards outrebounding the Bengals 46-28, including 9-5 on the offensive end.
The Cougars shot 51.7 percent from the floor (30 of 58). It was their second-best shooting night of the season and just the third time they have shot better than 50 percent from the floor. They are 3-0 in those games.
The Cougars are back at home Thursday night as the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners come to town. The Roadrunners are 8-4 on the season, but just 1-3 on the road with losses to Arizona, Wright State and SMU.
Damiyne Durham and Jaylin Airington are players to watch for the Roadrunners.
Durham is averaging 17.5 points on 40.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc while Airington is putting up 16 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists.