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What you need to know: BYU vs Pacific preview

The Cougars will be looking for their first conference win of the season, but the road hasn't been kind to them.

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The History

The BYU Cougars and Pacific Tigers played against each other for the first time in 1961 with BYU winning 69-70 in Provo. Since then they have played nine more times and just recently, thanks to a sweep by the Cougars last year, BYU has taken the series lead and looks to mimic the results from last year.

Stockton, CA 2014 (93-80)

Behind the record tying triple-double by Kyle Collinsworth, the Cougars controlled the game and walked away with a win. Collinsworth scored 17 points while pulling down 11 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists. With the triple-double in hand Collinsworth tied the record for triple-doubles in a season with four. The Cougars led early but allowed Pacific to come back to within one with six minutes left in the first half, but a 6-0 run to end the half gave the Cougars a nine point lead. Once again the Cougars controlled the second half but allowed the Tigers to crawl within four before finally putting them away with a 93-80 win.

Provo, UT 2014 (84-59)

Tyler Haws scored 20 while Collinsworth missed another triple-double by one assist as the Cougars welcomed the Tigers into Provo. The first half was a back and forth affair as both teams took leads but BYU took the three point lead into halftime. The second half started much like the first half as the teams traded punches. Pacific took their last lead at 50-49 before the Cougars offense found their rhythm. The last 15 minutes of the game found the Cougars on a 35-9 run to win the game 84-59. Skylwr Halford added 18 points while Chase Fischer add 16 in the win.

The Outlook

The Cougars once again started slow against a quality team and it cost them another game. The 12 point lead in the first half for the Gaels turned into a one point lead for the Cougars, but the Cougars couldn't complete the comeback and lost by 11. Each time the Cougars start off slow it makes the outlook for this team grim. The Cougars don't have the ability to fall behind early and make a full comeback to win the game on a regular basis. The only answer the Cougars need to look at is how to start stronger.

The Positives

The Cougars hung with the 12-1 Gaels for quite a while before finally tiring out and ending up with a double-digit loss. The fight in this team can never be questioned as they continue to comeback time and time again. At some point this fight will lead to wins against quality teams. The question is how long that will take.

The Negatives

Once again the Cougars had a hiccup on the road. It appears that the Cougars are a completely different team when they travel and always fall behind early. All of their losses have come on the road and have included double-digit deficits in the first half. Even against the less than stellar teams the deficit has punished the Cougars and the energy expended to make the comeback has cost the Cougars down the stretch. Without the energy late in the game, the Cougars are losing games that are winnable.

The Keys to Watch

When the Tigers have the ball:

Watch for Pacific to go deep into their bench for minutes and for scoring. Overall the team is quite balanced as they have 10 players that average double-digit minutes per game and their highest scoring player, Alec Kobre, sits right around 15 points per game. Watch for the ball to be in the hands of T.J. Wallace to manage the team and dish the ball out as much as he scores. He averages about 12 points per game and leads the team with over two assists per game. As a team they like to share the ball as they average 13 assists per game so watch for extra passes on offense.

Watch for the Cougars to play physical as they try to disrupt the Tigers in their offense, and create turnovers. The Cougars will try and protect the paint as they use their size to disrupt shots and force longer shots from the Tigers. Pacific only shoots 30% from behind the three point line so watch for the Cougars to force longer shots and contest the ones that are taken.

When the Cougars have the ball:

Watch for Fischer to continue his torrid pace as he has now scored at least 20 points in three straight games. Watch for Collinsworth to bounce back as he and the rest of the team makes the shots that didn't fall against the Gaels. The Cougars are continuing to find their shots and against a less talented team they should fall at a much better rate. Watch for the Cougars to continue to feed Kyle Davis the ball as he scores low and continues to improve his game.

Watch for the Tigers to force the Cougars to take off balance shots that are less likely to fall. The Tigers best bet is to play physical inside and force the Cougars to shoot from further out as they force shots late in the clock. The Tigers big men should have problems with Davis in the paint and Nate Austin on the rebounds so watch for them to try and get a good defensive position early, forcing the ball back out to the guards on the perimeter.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 4 pm MST

Where: Alex G. Spanos Center-Stockton, CA

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

Listen Live via Internet(KSL): Click Here