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BYU basketball: Mika, Bryant earn Player of the Week honors after upsetting No. 1 Zags

Published February 28, 2017 10:06 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

BYU's Eric Mika was named he NCAA.com Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in the Cougars' 79-71 win over No. 1 Gonzaga last Saturday. Mika scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the upset win, while also blocking two two shots.

He had 19 points in the win over Portland on Thursday, and had been named to the five-member Team of the Week by NCAA.com earlier Monday.

Mika also won the Lute Olson Award National Player of the Week on Monday.

But he didn't win the West Coast Conference's Player of the Week honor.

That went to his BYU teammate Elijah Bryant.

The sophomore averaged 26.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists last week as the Cougars trampled Portland 97-78 before upsetting the Zags.

It is the first conference PoW award for Bryant, a 6-5 wing from Gwinnett, Ga.

Others nominated for the honor were Pepperdine's Lamond Murray Jr., Pacific's Anthony Townes and Gonzaga's Johnathan Williams. Apparently, schools can only nominate one player, and the Cougars went with Bryant.

As for Mika, who has won the WCC honor three times this season, he received plenty of national plaudits for his performance against the Zags.

"I thought he played really well the other night, too," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "You have to give a lot of credit to him. He and the coaches have spent a lot of time together [talking about how] he has to be on attack and he has to be aggressive instead of trying to force it through two guys, or shoot a shot with a hand in his face.

He needs to get it back out, trust the other guys, and the guys are getting it back to him.

Elijah made some great plays, too.

That one finish he made off that dribble penetration right at the rim, I think to tie it, that was a big-time move."

My colleague Kurt Kragthorpe wrote this interesting column about what the Gonzaga win does for the program, and for Rose. Check it out.

Here's what Rose said after the win Saturday about having defeated the Zags three straight times in Spokane.

"We talked a lot about just how hard it is to do what they were trying to do," he said. "To try to go undefeated at home, to try to go undefeated in the season. I have been in those spots before — not in an undefeated season, but trying to win that last home game of the year. Those are hard things to do.

When you look at the game they played the other night, they were so dominant in San Diego, and that's how they started out in this game. I am proud of how our guys kept battling.

To be able to get back and cut it to six or four, against that team in this building, that's what we talked about at halftime. So, there were small pieces, and in the end we got the whole thing done."






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