PROVO, Utah (AP) - It was Jackson Emery night Tuesday at BYU and fans came equipped with Emery posters, T-shirts and even a sign that read, ``Thou Shalt Steal.'
He didn't disappoint.
The school's career steals leader hit five 3-pointers, scored 17 points and made two more steals to help the ninth-ranked Cougars beat TCU 83-67 for their eighth straight victory.
Jimmer Fredette led BYU (18-1, 4-0 Mountain West Conference) with 21 points but the night belonged to Emery, honored before the game for breaking Danny Ainge's 30-year-old steals record.
``To me, Jackson Emery was the key tonight,' TCU coach Jim Christian said. ``I can't say enough good things about him. I told him before the game if I could trade for one player in the league, I'd trade for Jackson Emery. He plays the game the right way. He makes up for a lot of people's mistakes on the floor and I think he's a great player.'
Emery's first 3-pointer gave BYU an 8-2 lead 4 minutes into the game. His third made it 41-21, and his fourth to open the second half increased the advantage to 50-30.
``Jimmer is a great player and every team seems to have a great player,' BYU coach Dave Rose said of his preseason All-America point guard, who leads the nation in scoring at 25.8 points per game. ``But it's that second guy who makes the first guy better. Jackson hitting five from 3-point (range) probably changed the way TCU wanted to guard Jimmer.'
Fredette shot just 6 for 16 from the field.
``We tried to trap him as much as we could, run at him ... because when he gets into certain rhythms, there's really nothing you can do,' Christian said of Fredette, who scored 47 points last week at Utah.
Rose said what TCU did effectively was change up its defense, double- and triple-teaming Fredette, then running at him again after he passed the ball.
The result for BYU was a balanced scoring attack in which all five starters reached double figures.
``When they're going to use two defenders to guard any player ... our philosophy is to attack them,' Rose said.
BYU went on a 12-0 run to take a 25-7 lead with 10:40 left in the first half. Kyle Collinsworth sank a pair of free throws to start the run and Fredette kept it going with a twisting shot in the lane. Fredette then hit two 3-pointers, including one from 30 feet to cap the spurt.
``I take pride in being able to shoot from anywhere and if they're not going to guard me, I'm going to take that shot,' said Fredette, who went 2 of 5 beyond the arc.
TCU fought back with a 9-0 run of its own, but reserve Stephen Rogers got rolling for BYU with six points in 3 minutes for a 38-21 lead. Emery, the team's ``other' senior guard, hit his third 3-pointer for a 41-21 cushion with 4:23 remaining.
BYU led 47-30 at halftime thanks to a 22-13 rebounding advantage and 54.5 percent (18 of 33) shooting. The Cougars also went 6 of 11 from beyond the arc.
``I'm really happy with how we came out the first 5, 8 minutes after (a weeklong) layoff,' Rose said. ``Defensively we were really engaged. We guarded them well ... got everybody involved. Guys shared the ball and we executed our game plan. There were a lot of times where TCU put a lot of runs on us and we answered them. But that's a very good TCU team.'
Ronnie Moss led TCU (10-10, 1-4) with 27 points.
TCU tried to get back in the game early in the second half with consecutive 3-pointers from Nikola Gacesa, Greg Hill and Garlon Green that pulled the Horned Frogs within 55-43 with a little more than 14 minutes remaining. But Fredette came right back with a three-point play to bump BYU's lead back to 15. After a dunk by Collinsworth, Fredette scored BYU's next seven points for a 62-47 Cougars lead.
Emery followed with his fifth 3-pointer.
Noah Hartsock put the game out of reach when he grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and converted the three-point play with 11:24 remaining.
Hartsock finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Brandon Davies had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Collinsworth added 10 points and nine rebounds.
BYU hasn't been ranked this high since the 1987-88 season. Next up is a road game Saturday at Colorado State before the Jan. 26 showdown against No. 6 San Diego State.
It likely will take another 1-2 punch by BYU's guards to keep the streak going.
Emery, humbled by all the attention, will try to do his part by padding that steals total - now at 199.
``(Ainge) left a legacy here and I'm honored to have broken the record and set that in stone hopefully and never have it broken again,' he said.
The Associated Press News Service
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