On Wednesday night the BYU Cougars and Utah State Aggies face off for the 231st time. In a series that started in 1905, and was last played in the Spectrum in Logan, the Cougars lead with 139 wins to 92 losses. Dave Rose is 6-3 against the Aggies with wins in the last three meetings.
Logan, UT 2014 (91-81)
The Cougars entered the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum having lost each time they stepped foot on that court since 2000. The combination of Tyler Haws, Kyle Collinsworth, and Anson Winder made sure that 2014 wouldn't end with the same result. Haws scored 35 while Collinsworth added 20 and Winder added 17. The Cougars and Aggies played close in the first half as they went into the locker room with a 32-31 Aggies lead. Utah State would extend their lead to five in the second half before BYU went a 12-0 run to put the Cougars up 58-48. The Cougars would extend their lead to 13 but the Aggies would make a small run to pull within eight before free throws helped the Cougars put the Aggies away 91-81.
The Cougars are coming off a bounce back win against the Weber State Wildcats as they played without two of their starters. With Nick Emery being suspended for the game and James Aytes missing due to injury, the Cougars played an up and coming Wildcats team that smelled blood. The young replacements played well and did just enough to knock off a team that wanted nothing more than to beat the Cougars for the first time in the Dave Rose era.
The Cougars once again can rely on Chase Fischer. After finding his stroke in the last few games he once again shot well from the three-point line as he shot 50%, going four of eight behind the arc. Not only did he shoot well from behind the arc, he also shot 75% from the free throw line and three of four on his other shots. He led the Cougars in scoring with 21 while Kyle Davis and Collinsworth each added 15. If the Cougars can get this type of production from Fischer, it will continue to help the rest of the team as they try to gel.
The Cougars allowed the Wildcats to stay in a game that shouldn't have been that close by allowing the Wildcats to out-rebound them in the paint. The Cougars had size and should have dominated the paint but giving up 12 rebounds to Joel Bolomboy didn't help. The Cougars will need to do much better on the boards if they want to compete with better teams, or they will find themselves in many more of these types of games.
The most intriguing match-up of the game could very well be between Kyle Collinsworth and Chris Smith. Smith is the do it all guy for the Aggies and will warrant a bit of extra attention from the Cougars defense. Collinsworth will need to be the guy to do this as he can play physical with Smith as he tries to neutralize the scoring threat. On offense Collinsworth will also need to make sure he runs Smith around in circles to wear Smith out and make him less effective on the offensive end.
The Keys to Watch
When the Aggies have the ball:
Watch for the Aggies to continue to use a balanced offense with the bulk of the scoring going to Smith, Jalen Moore, and Lew Evans. Smith averages almost 15 points a game while Moore adds 13.5 per game and Evans rounds it out with 10. Not only do they share the bulk of the scoring but they also share the bulk of the rebounding. Evans leads the team in rebounds with 6.2 per game while Smith adds 5.8 and Moore pulls down 5.5. Watch for these three to have the ball when Shane Rector doesn't as he averages four assists a game. If two or three of these guys can be slowed down, the Cougars have a good shot of winning.
Watch for the Cougars to put their best defenders on these guys as they try to block out and secure rebounds. Watch for Nate Austin, Kyle Davis, and Corbin Kaufusi to play physical with Moore and Evans in the paint and push them beyond their comfort zone. As the Cougars take away the inside game and force Smith and the guards to take over the game, the Cougars will be in a position to create turnovers and rushed plays.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for the Cougars to keep getting Davis and Kaufusi the ball down low as they draw the defense into the paint. As the ball goes low the edges will open for Nick Emery and Chase Fischer to hit the mid-range shots and the three-pointers. Watch for the Cougars to make the extra pass and find the open player, getting easy shots outside as well as under the basket.
Watch for the Aggies to start by giving Moore and Evans a chance to cover Davis and Kaufusi one on one but expect that to change quickly as the Cougars take advantage of the match-ups and score in the paint from offensive sets and second chance points. Once the Aggies begin to double team the bigs in the paint, watch for the Aggies to scramble a bit trying to defend the extra pass.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 7 pm MST
Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah
Radio(BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet(KSL): Click Here