BYU basketball notebook: The Pit is one tough place to play, Cougars find
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It might have been No. 9 BYU's final game at The Pit, and for the Cougars, things didn't go the way they wanted it to as they fell, 86-77, to New Mexico before a sellout crowd of 15,411.
BYU and the Lobos are not scheduled to play each other again in Albuquerque in the foreseeable future, what with the Cougars bolting the Mountain West Conference for the West Coast Conference next season.
"They're a good team and they play really well in this building," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "What surprises you is when someone comes in and beats them. When San Diego State beat them a week or two ago, it was a surprise."
The crowd was loud throughout the game, helping cheer the Lobos to victory. In the postgame celebration, some rows of bleachers were destroyed.
"The Pit is always a very emotional place to play. It gets loud in here," said BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, who scored 32 points. "Their fans are very passionate about Lobos basketball. We've been in a lot of tough environments this year, a lot of sellouts. But this is a great place to play."
MISSING EMERY: BYU senior guard Jackson Emery filled up the stat sheet as usual, with six points, three assists, four rebounds and three steals against New Mexico.
However, he also had four fouls, which severely limited the amount of time he played. Emery logged only 26 minutes after getting a couple of fouls in the first half, then he picked up his fourth foul with seven minutes remaining.
"He's such an aggressive player that when he gets that fourth foul, it slows him down a little bit," said Rose. "We need him in there. The more minutes he plays, the better we are, for sure."
For the second straight game, Emery struggled from the field. He was 1-of-7 shooting last Wednesday against San Diego State and made just 2-of-8 Saturday.
ABOUO STRONG: BYU's Charles Abouo turned in a strong performance, playing well defensively in the first half and finishing with nine points and two rebounds.
"I was just trying to get to the spots where Jimmer could see me under the basket," Abouo said of his scoring production. "He does a great job of finding guys."
AND A FRESHMAN SHALL LEAD THEM: Freshman forward Tony Snell entered Saturday's game averaging 3.7 points per game.
He scored a career-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers, against BYU.
As far as the Lobos are concerned, Snell picked a perfect time for his coming out party.
"We've seen this coming all along. His whole thing is having the confidence that he can do it," said UNM coach Steve Alford. "We've seen him do well in practice, and that's why his minutes have gone up. We're going with the four-guard lineup that we've had success with in the past. We're a little bit more potent on offense and we're getting better on defense, and part of that was waiting for the maturation of Tony."
NOTABLE: New Mexico has beaten BYU three consecutive times for the first time in 11 years. ... Saturday's win marked the Lobos' first victory over a top 10 team since downing No. 8 Wichita State, 71-68, in Las Vegas in 2006. ... This is the highest-ranked team UNM has beaten in The Pit since upsetting No. 3 Utah in 1998. ... New Mexico is 39-1 under Alford when it scores at least 80 points.
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