SALT LAKE CITY — It was a record-setting night at the Huntsman Center Tuesdaynight.
That's right, BYU's Jackson Emery set the all-time BYU record for steals, eclipsing the career mark of former Cougar great Danny Ainge.
Oh, you thought we were talking about that Fredette kid?
Yeah, he had a pretty good game with his 47 points, but just think — he still has a ways to go to surpass Ainge on the all-time scoring list. Emery is one, or rather two up on Ainge after getting a pair of steals in BYU's win.
Emery's overall performance was lost in the shuffle of Fredette's onslaught of points Tuesday night, but he played a big part of the Cougar victory. Not only did he finally break the steals record, he hit several key 3-pointers, going 5 of 7 on the night for 20 points, and added three rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.
It seems like Emery has been on the verge of breaking the steals mark, getting just four in the past three games after averaging three a game before that. But he finally broke Ainge's mark of 195 with 12:47 left in the first half, when he took the ball away from Utah freshman J.J. O'Brien.
"It feels good to finally get that," Emery said afterward, although he couldn't remember much about it.
"I don't remember exactly the moment," he said. "I knew I had one more left, but I didn't want to just fly around like a crazy man trying to get it. But I knew eventually it would come to me, and it felt great when I got it."
BYU coach Dave Rose was happy for his senior guard, partly because he won't have to hear about the pursuit of the steals record any more.
"I was really happy for him," Rose said. "That last one seems to have been the hardest one of the 196. There were a couple of times in that Air Force game where we thought he had it and he got tied up or something. What I'm really happy is that it's over and he probably won't get asked about it any more."
Overall, Rose was happy with his team's defensive play and how it reacted to Utah's offense. For the night, Utah had 22 turnovers to just five for the Cougars with 12 of the Ute turnovers the result of BYU steals.
"What I was really pleased with was how we played defensively," said Rose. "The zone was active and we were able to get some steals and score. In the second half we were way better defensively."
In the other locker room, Utah coach Jim Boylen mentioned how his team won the rebound battle (45-30) and the free throw battle (24 of 27 to 18 of 24). But he said 3-point shooting (14 of 24 for BYU, 3 of 12 for Utah) and the turnovers were the big difference, along with Fredette of course.
"I thought we were a little tentative at times," Boylen said. "I know we were trying and I don't know how many were charges and how many were deflected balls. I think it's safe to say if Chris Kupets gets four, Josh Watkins gets four and Will Clyburn gets six, we're going to have a tough time winning. Fourteen turnovers from those three guys is not a good formula for winning a big game against a ranked team."
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