Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It appears BYU freshman Eric Mika is ready to play again.
Mika, who suffered a right eye abrasion — but no structural damage — during a 90-88 loss to No. 21 Iowa State in Provo last Wednesday, is expected to be on the floor Monday (5:30 p.m. MST, ESPNU) when the Cougars face Texas in the semifinals of the College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic at the 18,972-seat Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Mika was eased into Friday’s practice and participated in a full practice Saturday before the team arrived in Kansas City.
This will be BYU’s second consecutive matchup with a Big 12 opponent, after falling to the Cyclones.
The Longhorns (4-0) have defeated Mercer, South Alabama, Stephen F. Austin and Houston Baptist this season.
“We've played some pretty good teams up to this point,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “We're going to play a team that's going to play a different style than we've seen up to this point. Going into the Iowa State game, BYU was averaging 96 points per game. They get fouled a lot. If there's a team out there taking advantage of the new rules, I would say it's BYU. They get to the foul line and they make a conscious effort to do that. They do a good job of getting the ball up and down the floor. We want to play that way, too. It's going to be a different style than we've seen."
BYU and Texas will meet in the opening game Monday, followed by a contest between No. 14 Wichita State and DePaul.
The losers of those two games meet Tuesday night. Then the winners will meet for the right to claim the CBE Hall of Fame Classic championship.
Kansas won last year’s title.
The tournament is named after the College Basketball Experience, the award-winning, interactive college basketball fan facility adjacent to the Sprint Center arena. The venue also features the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The CBE is the nation's only facility that exclusively honors the sport of men's collegiate basketball. The tournament, in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), was established in 2001 as the Guardians Classic.
Texas has won two CBE Hall of Fame Classic championships, in 2005 and 2009.
Junior forward Jonathan Holmes leads the Longhorns in scoring, averaging 15 points per game. He has hit 22 of 42 shots from the field, including 8 of 16 from 3-point territory.
Five Texas players are averaging double figures and four players are averaging at least six rebounds.
Barnes was impressed with Iowa State’s victory at BYU.
“That was a great win for (Iowa State head coach) Fred Hoiberg and Iowa State to be able to go to BYU in front of 16,000 people,” Barnes said. “It was a game of ebbs and flows, which I think you get when you have a team like BYU who gets up and down the floor and shoots it quickly and can get a lead. It's a long game, so you've got to stay with what you do. It was a great college basketball game. Iowa State made the plays they needed to make."
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