Nick Emery To Face Utah For First Time Since 2015 Incident
PROVO, Utah – Nick Emery made his long awaited return to the basketball court with the BYU Cougars on Wednesday night as the Cougars beat Utah State 95-80 at the Marriott Center.
His second game back with BYU will be against their rivals, Utah. The last time that Emery played the Utes, he didn’t get to finish the game after receiving a flagrant 2 foul with two minutes remaining in the game.
Emery Throws Punch
Emery was ejected for punching Utah guard Brandon Taylor in the face. When the officials went to review the play, Emery and Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak were in a heated argument with one another from their respective benches.
After officials reviewed the play, they confirmed the flagrant 2 and sent the then freshman to the locker room early.
Utah was up by 19 points when Emery was ejected, BYU made a comeback attempt but fell short and lost to the Utes 83-75. Emery had 11 points and 4 rebounds while shooting just 3-of-15 from the field. Following the incident, he received a one-game suspension.
Chase Fischer led BYU with 26 points, while Jakob Poeltl dropped 26 points and 13 rebounds for Utah.
Utah Cancels 2016 Game
That would be the only time that Emery has faced the Utes because after the game, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak cancelled the 2016 trip to Provo which was the last game scheduled between the schools.
Krystkowiak went as far as to pay the buyout fee that was in the contract which was $80,000.
The Utah head coach released a statement in 2015 with his reason for the hiatus with BYU.
“The events that have occurred in our recent games with BYU led me to ask athletics director Dr. (Chris) Hill several weeks ago if we could take a cooling-off period and put the rivalry on hold,” Krystkowiak said.
“The level of emotions has escalated to the point where there is a potential for serious injury. Chris said he would support me in canceling next year’s scheduled game against BYU. I called and let Coach Rose know our intentions a few days after our game (on Dec. 2).”
BYU Not Happy About Cancellation
Dave Rose released a statement when he was notified by Utah that the 2016 meeting would be cancelled, which was the first time since 1944 that Utah and BYU wouldn’t meet in basketball.
“I disagree with the decision,” he said. “I know our students, our players, our fans and college basketball fans in the intermountain area want to see this longstanding rivalry continue. This doesn’t make any sense to me.”
“If the game was scheduled to be played in the Huntsman Center next year (2016), the series would still be played,” Rose added.
The BYU head coach went on to talk about how heated the rivalry gets.
“The rivalry’s pretty heated,” Rose said. “We’ve had some interesting moments over the years. I’ve been involved with it for 18 years. A lot of the excitement of the game is – you don’t want things to get out of hand – but in rivalry games, things tend to get pretty heated at times. I don’t think the safety of the players is a concern.”
BYU and Utah will renew their rivalry in the Beehive Classic on Saturday at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The game will begin at 12 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPNU and KSL News Radio.