PROVO, Utah – BYU's inside-outside combination of forward Eric Mika and guard TJ Haws was too much for Santa Clara men's basketball in the West Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Mika posted a game-high 19 points and corralled nine rebounds, and Haws scored 17 on 5 of 6 shooting from the floor, including a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point line, to lead the Cougars to an 89-59 victory Thursday at Marriott Center.
Steven Beo nailed all four field goal attempts to add a career-high 12 points for the Cougars (10-4, 1-0) who shot a season-high 53.3 percent from the field and out-rebounded Santa Clara, 45-37.
Nate Kratch scored a team-high 12 points and had nine rebounds for the Broncos (6-8, 0-1), who had won three of their last four games. He was the only player in double figures for Santa Clara, which shot 30 percent from the floor, its second-lowest total of the year.
Leading scorer Jared Brownridge was held in check, tallying eight points on 2 of 8 from the field in a season-low 28 minutes. It marked only the second time in the last 36 games he did not reach double figures in scoring.
KJ Feagin, making his first start of the season after missing 12 games with a broken bone in his foot, posted eight points in 25 minutes, but was only 3 of 12 from the field. Kai Healy had eight points off the bench for the Broncos who connected on just 7 of 31 from behind the 3-point line.
The Cougars, who have won five of their last six games, took control midway through the first half.
A jumper by Matt Hauser cut the BYU lead to 20-9, but the Cougars proceeded to score 17 of the next 20 points, including seven straight by the Mika-Haws-Beo combination.
Mika, who 14 points in the first half, recorded his seventh double-double of the season and had one of BYU's five blocked shots in the game.
Both teams only turned the ball over eight times, but it was the Cougars' dominance in the paint, especially in the first half when they held a 20-4 scoring edge, that turned the game in their favor.
The Broncos cut the deficit to 55-36 on a free throw from Brownridge five minutes into the second half, but the Cougars reeled off nine straight points, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Haws and Beo. Santa Clara never got closer than 26 the remainder of the game.
Emmanuel Ndumanya had nine rebounds to match Kratch for team-high honors.
Nick Emery, BYU's second-leading scorer, matched his season-low with seven points, but spent much of his night hounding Brownridge at the defensive end. The Santa Clara senior guard missed his lone shot of the second half when he played only nine minutes.
Santa Clara has a quick turnaround, though the next two games are in Leavey Center. The WCC home opener against San Francisco is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. Portland visits on Thursday with tipoff at 7 p.m.
Notes: Tonight's game was the 33rd all-time meeting in the series, which began in 1951. BYU now leads 28-5. The Cougars have won the last 14 meetings, including all 13 since BYU joined the WCC for the 2011-12 season … Hauser (seven points) saw his six-game streak of scoring in double figures come to an end … Brownridge (1.973) remains in 12th place on the WCC career scoring list. He needs seven points to reach Keith Smith of Loyola Marymount (1982-86/1,980) for 11th. Brownridge is also closing in on becoming only the 11th player in league history to record 2,000 career points … BYU's eight turnovers were tied for the fewest by an opponent this season (also Washington State, Dec. 17) … BYU's point total (89) was the highest by a foe this year, eclipsing the 80 scored by Valparaiso in double overtime (Dec. 22) … Santa Clara's eight turnovers were tied for the its second-fewest of the season (also vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 11). The Broncos turned the ball over a season-low five times vs. UC Irvine (Nov. 30).
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