Eric Mika had a second excellent game to open the season with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks as the BYU Cougars earned a 96-59 victory over the Coppin State Eagles on Thursday night at the Marriott Center. His Lone Peak High teammates Nick Emery and T.J. Haws added 13 and 11 points respectively for the Cougars. Coppin State, a perennial poor program in the MEAC, was clearly gassed after playing their third game in three different cities in four nights. While there cannot be too much information to be gleaned from a blowout victory against a team that finished 327th out of 351 NCAA teams in the RPI last season, here are the main takeaways from the game.
This is a very young team and there will be lulls in effort and concentration throughout the season: While it was easy to get up for the season opener against a very strong Princeton team, this nucleus of freshmen and sophomores lacked the same intensity, focus, and discipline for much of this game. 22 turnovers is far too many for this talented team, and sloppiness like this will keep opposing teams in games that BYU should put away.
Yoeli Childs is an 18-year old forward who has the body, and game, of someone 5 years older: Childs was a monster on the boards, hauling in 15 rebounds. While he still has issues catching the ball down low and understanding his role when trying to make difficult passes in traffic, he is physically mature beyond his years. He has shown the strength and athleticism to rise up and slam it home when he is the recipient of a nice feed around the basket.
Houston transfer L.J. Rose is exactly what this BYU team needed: This Cougars team is inexperienced at many positions, but Rose has been a stabilizing force that helps get them organized in the half court offense. L.J. hasn’t demanded a lot of shots, but was very efficient in the victory with 5 points on 1/2 shooting, 5 assists and just one turnover. He is developing into the player Dave Rose can trust with the ball in his hands in the closing minutes of a tight game.
Elijah Bryant is finally getting healthy: While he took a couple of ill-advised three pointers and forced the issue in transition a few times, Bryant had a very solid performance, finishing with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 5/5 shooting from the free throw line. He looks to be getting more comfortable being assertive on offense after being slowed by a knee injury in the preseason.
BYU moves to 2-0 on the season, and will host Coastal Carolina in the second half of a Football-Basketball doubleheader on Saturday night at 7:30 PM MT on BYUtv.