PROVO — Following an eventful opening of Mountain West Conference basketball play, BYU is taking a break this weekend.
The No. 11 Cougars (17-1, 3-0 MWC) have a bye on Saturday before hosting TCU next Tuesday (8 p.m., The mtn.).
"It will be nice to have a good rest period," said senior guard Jimmer Fredette. "We'll take a couple of days off, maybe, and get ready for our next game. It will be good for us. We've been through a tough stretch and it will be good to kind of relax, get regrouped and get ready to go."
In its most recent outing, BYU thrashed Utah, 104-79, at the Huntsman Center on Tuesday night.
"It feels good. That's what you want to do as a basketball player — you want to kill your opponent," said Fredette, who hung 47 points on the Utes. "When you're on the floor, you want to be as aggressive as you can and play as hard as you can. Then off the floor, it's all good. You're good friends. When you're on the floor, you want to beat the opponent as much as you possibly can, and we were able to do that."
Utah tried to run with BYU but, ultimately, that didn't work. Cougar guard Jackson Emery likes it when opposing teams decide to run.
"It's fun. We build off that energy," he said. "That's our style. It's really hard when you play teams like Air Force, when they're not going to run at all and they're going to slow things down. It's hard to get a flow, a momentum going. It was great. Utah did a terrific job pushing the ball, putting us on our heels a couple of times. But when we responded, we were really good."
STEALS RECORD SECURED: It took a little longer than Emery would have preferred, but the senior guard became BYU's all-time leader in steals during the win over Utah.
At the 12:47 mark of the first half, Emery notched his 196th career steal to surpass Danny Ainge. Emery finished with two thefts against the Utes and now has 197 all-time steals. On the record-breaking steal, Emery passed the ball to Fredette, who scored on a layup.
"It's amazing," Fredette said of Emery's record. "To see how Jackson's been here for four years and to see him break that record is a great feeling. He's a great kid. He's one of my good friends and we've been together for a long time. He's the best stealer in BYU history and he'll always be that until somebody breaks it. Hopefully, someone doesn't break it."
"It feels good to finally get that," said Emery, who finished with 20 points and hit 5-of-7 3-pointers.11 comments on this story
"That last one seems to have been the hardest one," coach Dave Rose said of the steals record. "I'm happy it's over and he won't get asked about it any more."
Meanwhile, Fredette's steal with 10:39 left in the game put him in fifth place in career steals with 141. Previously, Fredette was tied with Scott Sinek (1981-85), who had 140 steals.
MORE MILESTONES: Fredette reached the all-time 2,000-point plateau last Tuesday, one of only four Cougars to reach that milestone. In the same game, Emery became the 42nd player to score 1,000 points in his career.
Fredette now has scored 2,001 points while Emery has scored exactly 1,000.