What you need to Know: BYU vs San Diego (Basketball Edition)

Skyler Halford shoots against Wichita State - Jamie Squire

In the ninth meeting between BYU and San Diego, the Cougars are looking to stop a four game skid and avenge losses last year in San Diego and the WCC tournament.

The History

When the San Diego Toreros visit Provo on Saturday, it will mark the ninth meeting between the schools. BYU holds a commanding lead on the Toreros, 6-2, but lost two out of three last year. The first game between the schools took place in 2001 and will continue as both teams are members of the WCC.

Provo, UT 2013 (6-0)

In a game that turned out to be the 200th victory for Head Coach Dave Rose, the Cougars built a double digit lead in the first half and held on for the 74-57 win. San Diego took their first lead early in the game and built it to five before the Cougars adjusted and went on a 6-2 run and then a 17-4 run. With a 43-31 lead at the half, the Cougars allowed the lead to drop to nine before taking back control and getting the lead up to 19 in the second half. Tyler Haws led all scorers with 25 points while Brandon Davies added 17 points and seven rebounds. Matt Carlino and Brock Zylstra added 11 and 10 points while Nate Austin led the teams in rebounding with nine.

San Diego, CA 2013 (6-1)

In the rematch of the teams, the first half was a back and forth battle before San Diego took a 40-36 lead into the locker room. With 33 seconds left in the half, Chris Manresa converted on a layup that gave the Toreros the four point lead. After halftime the Toreros went on a 7-1 run to increase their lead to 11 but couldn't put the Cougars away. BYU pulled the game to within three at 56-53 with under 10 minutes in the game and again at 67-65. Down the stretch the Cougars couldn't put the points on the board and San Diego came out with the victory 74-68. Tyler Haws again let all scorers with 27 points and Davies added 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Las Vegas, NV 2013 (6-2)

Turnovers and missed opportunities led to the second straight loss to San Diego. BYU shot a higher percentage in the game and out rebounded San Diego but they couldn't overcome blocked shots and giving up 15 points off turnovers. With the 72-69 loss, the Cougars were bounced from the WCC tournament in the quarterfinals. BYU had a chance to tie in the final seconds but Carlino couldn't sink the three-point shot to keep their hopes alive. The Cougars were led by Davies and Haws, each having 20 points. Davies also added nine rebounds and eight assists.

The Outlook

After the Cougars struggled again on the road, dropping a game to Pepperdine, the questions are beginning to pile up around this team. When the offense is struggling the team can't hide the deficiencies on the defensive end and this puts all of their struggles on full display, especially on the road.

The Positives

The Cougars forced 15 turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. This included 10 steals where BYU was able to get hands in the passing lanes. The defense is still struggling at times but the forced turnover numbers went up and will present opportunities in future games.

BYU again out rebounded the opponent and had 18 offensive rebounds. Even though they were unable to convert many of these into second chance points, as their confidence is restored some of these will turn into second chance points.

The Negatives

The most glaring number on the stat sheet was the lack of three-point productivity. With only one make in the game, the Cougars sat at a 9 percent shooting percentage behind the arc. Haws and Halford both ended 0-3 from behind the arc while Anson Winder hit the only shot going 1-2.

BYU managed to only shoot 40 percent for the game with Haws going 7-18, Halford 4-10, and Carlino finishing 1-7. With Mika and Austin in foul trouble, and fouling out again, the shooting took another hit and Carlino ended up with only four points. If the Cougars are going to find their way out of this slump, Carlino needs to step up and make some shots. Mika and Austin will also need to find ways to stay on the court for this team to succeed.

The Keys to Watch

When the Toreros have the ball: Watch for San Diego to keep the pace of the game slow. They average less than 70 points a game and less than 12 assists. Junior guard Johnny Dee is the leader of the team and leads the team in scoring with just under 19 points per game while junior Christopher Anderson averages over six assists per game. The Toreros struggle a bit on the rebounding as senior forward Dennis Kramer is the leading rebounder at just over seven a game. The Toreros have four players in double digit scoring as Duda Sanadze, Kramer, and Anderson add additional firepower to Dee. Watch for the Cougars to pressure Anderson and force him into mistakes. The Cougars will try and force the ball into the role-players hands and force them to make plays while minimizing the impact of Dee and Anderson.

When the Cougars have the ball: Look for BYU to feed Haws, Eric Mika, and Kyle Collinsworth the ball. If the Cougars offense is going to find their groove again, it will be through these players. Matt Carlino is still the second leading scorer on the team but has dropped his shooting percentage to 36 percent and may be losing confidence with each shot. Watch for Skyler Halford to make the most of his minutes as he may be the most consistent player for the Cougars up to this point. Look for the Toreros to play physical on Mika and Austin, as they have each fouled out of the last couple of games. They will also try to keep a hand in Haws face so he has to earn his shots. Don't expect them to give up easy buckets to Collinsworth and if needed, they will use their fouls to make him hit his free throws.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 7pm MST

Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah

TV: BYUtv

Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143

Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here

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