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Provo • BYU freshman guard Nick Emery has issued an apology to Utah guard Brandon Taylor for striking Taylor with less than two minutes remaining in Utah's 83-75 win over BYU on Wednesday night and has been suspended for one game by the West Coast Conference.
Emery received a flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game for the hit on Taylor after referees reviewed the play, and will miss BYU's game against 5-2 Weber State at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Saturday.
"West Coast Conference student-athletes are expected to adhere to the WCC's code of conduct, which includes sportsmanship principles and standards," Commissioner Lynn Holzman wrote in a conference news release. "Sportsmanship is an essential core value of intercollegiate athletics and a value strongly reinforced by all of the members of the WCC."
The release also says "Emery has been reprimanded for his actions in striking an opponent during live game action" and was "assessed and issued a Flagrant 2 foul for fighting."
The incident occurred with 1:44 remaining, while Emery and Taylor were underneath the basket and BYU's Kyle Collinsworth was shooting a 3-pointer to make the score 80-64 in Utah's favor. After Taylor made contact with Emery's neck with his hand, the freshman hit the Utah senior with a left-handed uppercut.
Emery's brother, former BYU guard Jackson Emery, posted a picture on Twitter of two neck scratches that he says were inflicted on the BYU player.
"I apologize to Brandon Taylor for the incident that happened in the game last night," Nick Emery wrote in a statement posted with the WCC release. "He's a great competitor and I got caught up in the intensity of the game and let my emotions get the best of me. I also want to apologize to Coach [Larry] Krystkowiak, his team, the fans of both schools and my teammates and coaches. I regret what happened and will definitely learn from this experience. I'll continue to play with passion to help our team but will do better in representing myself, the team and BYU."
Emery scored 11 points and had four rebounds before heading to the locker room. A technical foul was issued on Utah's crowd for throwing objects on the floor after it had been warned about such actions earlier in the contest.
After the game, BYU coach Dave Rose discussed the incident and predicted the suspension.
"I talked to the official and he told me that it was pretty obvious what had happened," Rose said. "I talked to Nick and what I wanted to make sure was that [the official] got the entire play. He told me, 'Hey, we got it, this was easy, this was textbook stuff.' So we sent Nick to the locker room and Taylor goes to the free-throw line. I didn't actually see the full play until after I addressed the team. It looks like when this is sent to the conference office that there will be more [discipline] than just what happened here tonight, I bet. That's my take on it."
Utah's 7-foot center, Jakob Poeltl dominated the game, with 26 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Rose said BYU's plan was to use all four post players Corbin Kaufusi, Kyle Davis, Nate Austin and Jamal Aytes to slow down Poeltl, but that took a blow when Aytes left the game with a sprained ankle around the 12-minute mark in the first half and didn't return.
"It will be kind of a rebuild here for a little while, because I think Jamal will be out for a little while," Rose said.
The coach who dropped to 12-6 against Utah said he learned a lot about his team in the cauldron of competition.
"And I am very pleased with how we competed, and how we executed in the second half, at times. We need to get to that [sooner] and be better at it," he said.
Without Emery and Aytes, BYU faces a tough test against Weber State, which has won five straight games.
BYU vs. Weber State
P at Vivint Smart Home Arena
Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV • BYUtv