Tag: Eric Mika


Lineup change, bench play help BYU grab an important victory

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BYU entered Thursday night’s game against No. 25 Gonzaga having won five of its last six games, and while the Cougars have multiple players capable of putting points on the board junior guard Tyler Haws has been the star. Averaging more than 23 points per game on the season, Haws averaged 25.8 points per game during that stretch and surpassed the 30-point mark in two of those games.

With this being the case it goes without saying that Gonzaga would look to neutralize Haws, and with him scoring 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting the Bulldogs did a solid job of limiting him offensively. On nights like these the other pieces need to step up, and Dave Rose’s players did just that in the 73-65 victory.

As a result BYU moved to 6-1 in its last seven games while also taking an important step towards a return to the NCAA tournament after missing out a season ago.

Rose made an important change to the starting lineup, moving freshman forward Eric Mika to the bench and giving guard Anson Winder the start in the his place. And the move worked out for both players, with Winder scoring 17 points and Mika adding 13 to go along with eight rebounds. And with Matt Carlino, who scored seven of BYU’s final nine points, scoring 15 on the evening BYU’s reserves outscored Gonzaga’s 34-21.

Mika entered Thursday’s game on the heels of underwhelming performances in BYU’s 60-58 win at Saint Mary’s last Saturday, as he scored five points and failed to grab a single rebound in 17 foul-plagued minutes. Faced with their most important game of the season to date, as BYU entered 0-4 against ranked teams, Rose took a chance and moved his freshman big man to the bench.

There were two objectives to the move: to use Winder in defending Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos and to keep Mika out of foul trouble. BYU was successful on both fronts, with Pangos scoring 13 points on 3-for-9 shooting and Mika playing 24 solid minutes.

Keeping Mika on the bench at the start of the game was Rose’s way of preventing the freshman from getting into early foul trouble.

“I didn’t really mind it. I kind of liked it,” Mika said of coming off the bench. “It was nice to see how the game was going, how the flow was for a minute or two then be able to go. The big guys on the other team were a little bit tired because of the pace of the game. I think it helped my start. It definitely gave me an advantage … I didn’t realize I only played 24 minutes. It felt like I played 40 minutes.”

BYU has two games remaining before the WCC tournament, at home against a Portland team that beat them in triple overtime last month on Saturday followed by a game at San Diego a week later. With their current play and the fact that early-season wins over Stanford (fellow bubble team) and Texas are increasing in value, BYU looks to be inching closer to a spot in the field of 68.

New Year’s Resolutions: BYU Cougars

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Over the course of the holiday week, we at College Basketball Talk will be detailing what we believe will be the New Year’s Resolutions of some of the nation’s most talented, most disappointing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams. What can we say, we’re in a giving mood.

Who else made Resolutions? Click here to find out.

WHAT DOES BYU PROMISE TO DO MORE OF?: Play with greater efficiency on the offensive end.

    • Why it will happen:

Dave Rose has some talented offensive weapons at his disposal, most notably the guard tandem of Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws. That duo has combined to average 38.1 points per game this season, with Haws leading the way at 22.2 ppg while also shooting 45.0% from the field. Guard Kyle Collinsworth and forward Eric Mika are also averaging in double figures, and the fact of the matter is that this group is more talented than their efficiency numbers would indicate (9th in the WCC in offensive efficiency). They’re too good to not snap out of their current funk.

    • Why it won’t happen:

You hate to put a team’s issues on one guy, but Carlino (37.5% FG) has a possession percentage of 29.5% but has the team’s lowest offensive rating by far. Of the six other Cougars to have a possession percentage of at least 14% per kenpom.com, Collinsworth has the lowest offensive rating at 102.7. Carlino’s offensive rating: 94.2. In their loss to Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Carlino and Haws combined to shoot 8-for-28 from the field (6-for-22 3PT) and they’ll continue to see a lot of attention as WCC play wears along. And with that being the case, the Cougars could be in for some long nights offensively if those two aren’t on.


    • Why it will happen:

The Cougars have capable shooters, so it’s difficult to see them continue to shoot 67.1% from the charity stripe as the season wears on. Prior to the current four-game stretch of not shooting better than 70% from the foul line, BYU enjoyed five straight games in which they shot better than that mark.

    • Why it won’t happen:

While Haws leads the team in free throw attempts and is shooting 86.7% from the line, Carlino’s more of a jump shooter who’s only fourth on the team in attempted free throws (58 FTAs, making 70.7%). The two players between Carlino and Haws are Mika (84 attempts) and Collinsworth (81), and they’re shooting 58.3% and 59.3%, respectively. Mika and Collinsworth lead the Cougars in free throw rate, so obviously they’re more likely to end up on the line than either Carlino or Haws. In the case of Mika he’s going to continue to get fouled as the season wears on due to his strength and ability to score in the paint, and that could lead to points being left on the board.

BYU’s Tyler Haws, Eric Mika lip-syncing 98 degrees? (VIDEO)

Tyler Haws
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BYU’s basketball team has found a unique way to promote games this season: by choosing terrifically awful love songs and convincing some of the team’s most recognizable faces to lip-sync them in ridiculous ways.

Here, you’ll see Tyler Haws and Erik Mika joined by Skyler Halford and Luke Worthington singing “Because of You” by 98 degrees.

That’s almost as good as when they decided to lip-sync Chicago’s ‘You’re the Inspiration’.

But wait, there’s more. You like Robin Thicke?:

Or Justin Timberlake?:

How about Mika riding around in an Italian sports car and rapping:

Matt Carlino can rap a little bit too, apparently:

Someone needs to tell Mika to lose the ‘stache, though:

(h/t Sporting News)