PROVO — Most of the attention was directed toward Gavin Baxter in BYU's 67-49 win on Saturday, and deservedly so, although another BYU player provided big minutes, helping fuel the Cougars' big second half.
Nick Emery, in what was undoubtedly his best game in two years, provided 17 points off the bench, appearing to revert to the fine form he showed early in his career and helping boost the team's overall production significantly.
In the first half Emery provided his team's first 3-point bucket made and a level of intensity that was sorely lacking for the game's first 20 minutes of play. For this reason Rose opted to start the embattled junior guard in the second half with Emery responding in fine form.
“The most important thing for me, coming out in the second half, was our energy and our effort,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “I knew that the one thing that Nick has given us in all the games that he’s played is his effort.”3 comments on this story
That effort paid off big for both Emery and the team in general, with the Lone Peak product hitting on all five of his 3-point attempts while playing centrally in the game-defining 18-0 run in the second half.
But as good as Emery was on the offensive end, he was at least as impactful on defense, according to Rose.
“He was so active and he got his hands on balls,” Rose said. “He and TJ (Haws) both deflected quite a few balls where we turned them over and got out into transition to get some easy baskets.”