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BYU vs Mississippi Valley State recap: Cougars struggle but put away the Delta Devils 75-68

In what was expected to be a blowout, the young Cougars were unable to shake the Delta Devils until the end.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

In 2010 the BYU Cougars welcomed in the visiting Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils into the Marriott Center and only allowed them to score 36 points, and only 10 in the first half. Many expected to see a similar game tonight. The Cougars and the Delta Devils had other plans however. BYU started off strong and even built a 17 point lead early into the game. With the score 22-5 the Cougars looked to end the game early and give the bench a night of extended minutes. That is when the wheels fell off and the game became competitive. The turning point of the game ended up being when the Cougars second team came into play and couldn't maintain the momentum. The bench for the Delta Devils however gave them their life. Even though the Cougars took a 12 point lead into the half, nobody believed that the game was over at that point. The Cougars had shown enough kinks in their game to give everyone pause for the night.

In reality it was a tale of two halves as BYU shot 48% in the first half, including 43% from behind the arc. Even their free throw shooting was impressive as they sat at 89%. When it was time for the second unit to shine in the second half, they couldn't do it and when asked to fight through their struggles, they couldn't make the necessary plays. The Cougars second half numbers were abysmal as they shot 9% from behind the arc, and 47% from the free throw line. As a much bigger team the Cougars were only able to score 32 points in the point while allowing the much smaller Delta Devils to score 26 in the paint. The biggest difference, however, came down to the bench scoring. The Delta Devils rode their bench to more than half their points at 37. BYU managed a measly 12 points from their bench. With these types of number from the bench, it was no surprise that the momentum swings favored the Delta Devils in the second half and allowed the lead to fall to as little as five on multiple occasions. Even though the Cougars never trailed, and won ugly, they still came out with a 75-68 win and will have plenty to work on before their next game Saturday. Coach Rose was not happy after the game and even implied that the second unit will receive much less time on the court, and will have a much shorter leash when playing.

One bright spot in the game was the play of Nick Emery as he scored a team high 18 points, added a career high seven assists, and added two steals to go along with his lone turnover. Kyle Davis added 13 points and seven rebounds while Corbin Kaufusi added 12 points and four blocks. Kyle Collinsworth led the Cougars with eight rebounds to go along with his 11 points. Jamal Aytes lead the Cougars bench players with five points. The leading scorer and rebounder of the game came from the Delta Devils as Damian Young scored 21 and Michael Matlock pulled down 10 rebounds in the loss.

The Cougars will play next on Saturday at 7pm in the Marriott Center against the Belmont Bruins. The game will be televised live on BYUtv.