SALT LAKE CITY – The BYU Men’s Basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday against in-state foe Utah State University 95-80. It now has to shift to another rivalry when it takes on the Utes in the Beehive Classic game on Saturday.
Last year the Cougars beat the University of Utah 77-65 when the two teams met at the Marriott Center. That team was without Nick Emery who has not played in the rivalry contest since 2015. A game which he threw a punch at Utes guard Brandon Taylor and was suspended for a game.
Following that, Utah’s head coach, Larry Krystkowiak, said it was time for the two schools to take a break. No game was played in 2016 and the next year Emery withdrew from BYU as the NCAA conducted an investigation.
“I’ve made some mistakes in my career but that doesn’t change what we do as a team. It’s going to be fun,” Emery said. “I understand that there’s going to be heat at times and whatever fans or players say. I know who I am and I know that I’m here for my teammates. Whatever I can do, even if it takes the pressure off them, I’m willing to do.”
Emery is looking forward to seeing the Utes again.
“Growing up, I’ve always known of the rivalry and I’ve played in the rivalry,” Emery said. “These are two good teams. We can’t treat it lightly. We’ve just got to trust our preparation.”
The NCAA suspended Emery nine games in connection with investigation due to him accepting improper benefits. He did not seem to miss a beat for the Cougars, however. He connected on three 3-pointers, dished out two assists, and had two steals.
The Utes are coming off a win against Tulsa on Saturday 69-64. Junior Jayce Johnson led the way with a double-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
Senior Parker Van Dyke, from East High School, says he is grateful to play in the rivalry game one last time.
“It’s really cool for me as a local kid to be in something like the Beehive Classic, to play against local players,” said Van Dyke, who had fun playing against Utah State in last year’s event. “So it’s something I really like.”
Beehive Classic tip-off
Tip-off for the Utes and Cougars will be at 12:00 P.M. It will be broadcast on ESPNU and will be played at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Following that game Utah State and Weber State will tip-off at 2:30 P.M.
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