I got open shots and I was able to knock them down. It was a good overall team win. —Nick Emery
PROVO — Nick Emery helped BYU avenge last month’s embarrassing loss to San Diego Thursday night at the Marriott Center.
Emery scored a game-high 26 points as the Cougars downed the Toreros 82-70 before a crowd of 13,440.
Emery shot 8 of 12 from the floor, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and played 32 minutes before fouling out late in the game.
“I got open shots and I was able to knock them down,” Emery said. “It was a good overall team win.”
Emery was one of five BYU players to score in double figures along with Elijah Bryant (15), Eric Mika (15), T.J. Haws (12) and Yoeli Childs (12). Mika grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds while Bryant and Childs collected eight rebounds apiece.
“It was a hard-fought game," said coach Dave Rose. "It was good to see Nick be aggressive offensively.”
BYU scored only two points off the bench on the bucket by Davin Guinn.
Mika was 3 of 13 from the field but made 9 of 12 free throws. As a team, the Cougars were 22 of 31 from the charity stripe.
Olin Carter III and Brett Bailey each scored 21 for San Diego.
The Cougars lost 88-75 to San Diego at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Jan. 14.
Thursday’s victory marked the first time the Cougars have won back-to-back games since Jan. 21.
With the win, BYU improved to 19-9 overall and 10-5 in the West Coast Conference. San Diego fell to 11-16 and 4-11. The Toreros have dropped 7 of their last 8 games.
A year ago when San Diego visited the Marriott Center, BYU tied a school record for fewest points allowed in the shot-clock era in a 91-33 romp. It marked the Cougars’ biggest margin of victory over a Division I opponent in school history.
This one was much closer and the Toreros gave the Cougars a much fiercer battle.
Up seven at halftime, BYU was in control throughout the second half, maintaining a double-digit lead for much of the final 20 minutes.
The Cougars were ahead by nine when they had a 9-0 run to push their lead to 67-49 with 8:45 left in the game.
While USD made 6 of 12 3-pointers in the first half, the Toreros made only 4 of 16 3s in the second half.
Haws opened the game with a 3-pointer but San Diego proved early on that it wasn’t going to simply roll over. The Toreros led 11-8 when BYU got on a roll, going on a 29-8 run over the next eight minutes.
During that stretch, Emery was ablaze, knocking down all five of his 3-point attempts in the half. He also had a behind-the-back pass to Childs for a dunk.
As a team, the Cougars hit 13 consecutive field goals and they led by as many as 18 points to take a 37-19 advantage.
But just when it looked like BYU might run away from USD, the Toreros enjoyed their own hot shooting spurt, nailing 6 of 8 field goals and outscoring the Cougars 19-5 to whittle the deficit down to 42-38 with one minute remaining in the half.
Then Haws finished the half the way he started it, burying a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, giving him bookend 3’s in the first half, and lifting BYU to a 45-38 lead at the break.
Emery led all scorers with 17 points at intermission, going 6 of 6 from the field, while Childs had 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting.
“Yoeli’s transformed into a great player,” Emery said. “He’ll continue to get better. He works harder than anybody I know. I’m excited to see what kind of player he turns out to be.”
BYU hosts No. 22 Saint Mary’s Saturday (8 p.m., MST, ESPN2).