In a game with questionable officiating and foul misfortune Saturday night at Brigham Young, one team came out victorious. That team was not the Colorado Buffaloes, as the BYU Cougars went on to take the game, 79-71.
The Buffs (7-3) held their own for much of the second half after dropping the first half to the Cougars (7-3), but quickly fell out of the competition when senior guard Derrick White, who had been hot all night, picked up a mysterious ghost foul – his fourth.
Junior guard George King recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points to 12 rebounds as he accounted for over a third of Colorado’s boards.
Despite boasting three sharp-shooters in White (21 points), senior forward Xavier Johnson (17) and King (14), the Cougars still outgunned the Buffs.
Nick Emery matched his season average with a game-high 22 points, followed by Eric Mika (17), T.J. Haws (16) and Yoeli Childs (11). The Cougars finished with 44.8 percent shooting; the Buffs shot just 38.7 percent. BYU also won on the glass with 46 boards to CU’s 31.
The Cougars and the Buffs got off to a fast start with each team exchanging blows in the first minute of play, but BYU quickly gained the advantage after that and never looked back.
BYU led by as much as eight points, 21-13, with 12 and a half minutes to go until the break, but the Buffs weren’t ready to turn over in Provo just yet.
With just under three minutes left in the half, White exploded on offense – as he did throughout much of the first half – with a dunk and subsequent pair of free throws to bring the Buffs within just one point, 34-33.
But the Cougars still won out the rest of the half as they went into the break with a 40-38 edge, no thanks to Emery and White, who each scored 13 and 16 points, respectively, throughout the first 20 minutes of play.
At the start of the second half, BYU came out shooting hot and heavy and didn’t give the Buffs the chance to catch their footing. By the time the clock stopped for the first media timeout, the Cougars had amassed a 10-point lead, 52-42.
A few minutes after that surge, the Buffaloes—or rather Johnson—responded with a nice and ebb and offensive flow as Johnson single-handedly ran an eight-point tangent to bring the Buffs back within just one point, 53-52, by the next timeout on the floor.
Seconds later, the Buffs gained their first lead since the opening minutes as King sunk a pair of charity shots. Make that a 12-1 run for the Buffs to get them back in the game, and that was without the help of White, who had to sit after picking up a questionable fourth foul.
From there on out the Buffs and the Cougars threw punch after punch in a tumultuous game of back-and-forth until BYU sparked an 8-0 run to gain another sizable lead, 73-64, with just over four minutes remaining. A missed goaltending call on BYU altered the course of the game for good just seconds before the big run.
Despite their best efforts, the Buffs couldn’t cut BYU’s lead, nor could they get close again. The Cougars won out, 79-71.
The Buffs return to their home court, on Saturday, Dec. 17 at noon to take on Fort Hayes State in what will most likely be a comeback victory.