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BYU basketball analysis: How the Cougars beat the Wildcats

The BYU Cougars used a dominating second-half performance from Eric Mika to knock off the Weber State Wildcats 77-66 at the Marriott Center on Wednesday night.

After totaling just five points through the first 20 minutes, Mika registered 21 big points to finish with a game-high 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four assists as the Cougars improved to 6-3 on the season.

Mika had plenty of help as TJ Haws recorded 15 points and five assists, while Yoeli Childs added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Zach Braxton led the way for the Wildcats with 18 points and 13 rebounds, including five on the offensive end, while Ryan Richardson and Jeremy Senglin chipped in with 13 and 12 points respectively.


Why the Cougars won

The Wildcats just had no answers for the inside play of the Cougars as the trio of Mika, Childs and Kyle Davis combined to score 49 points on 18-for-32 shooting from the floor while totaling 21 rebounds and three blocks.


The turning point

With the score tied at 47, the Cougars went on a 16-6 run to open up a 63-53 lead. Mika was massive in the run with nine points, including a pair of 3-point plays and an emphatic alley-oop dunk on a pass from Haws.


What it means

The Cougars got the job done in a game they absolutely couldn't afford to lose. It also allows them to build some momentum before another tough matchup against a good Pac-12 opponent on Saturday night.


Unsung hero

Kyle Davis has been a great fit as an offensive spark plug coming off the bench. In just 16 minutes against Weber State, he totaled 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor while adding three rebounds, a block and a steal.


Grading the performances

BYU

On a night where the Cougars couldn't find the range from beyond the arc (making 27.3 percent of 11 attempts), they turned their focus to the paint to come away with the win.

They held their own on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 41-36, but did give up 10 offensive rebounds.

Grade: B-

Weber State

The Wildcats put up quite a fight, but foul trouble and missed free throws cost them in the end. Braxton and Kyndahl Hill fouled out trying to stop the Cougars' inside game, while Jordan Dallas collected four fouls.

The foul shooting was even more alarming as the Wildcats missed 15 free throws in an 11-point loss.

Grade: C-


Three telling stats

The Cougars assisted on 67.9 percent of their baskets in the win (19 of 28). That is the second best total of the season behind only the 81-65 win over Coastal Carolina when they assisted on 72.7 percent of their buckets.

The Wildcats made just 11 of 26 free-throws (42.3 percent). That is the fourth time in nine games that a BYU opponent shot 50 percent or less from the foul line.

The 26-point, 10-rebound effort from Mika was his fourth double-double of the season. The Cougars have won all four of those games.


Up next

The Cougars get another tough test as the Colorado Buffaloes come to town on Saturday night. The Buffaloes are 7-2 on the season after a 68-66 win over Xavier on Wednesday.

Two players to watch are seniors Derrick White and Xavier Johnson.

White is averaging 15 points a game on 52.2 percent shooting from the floor with 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists, while Johnson puts up 14.8 points on 47.8 percent shooting with 6.3 rebounds.

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.