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What you need to know: BYU vs Santa Clara (Round 2)

After a huge win in San Francisco, the Cougars are looking for a bay area sweep.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The History

On Saturday the BYU Cougars will visit the Santa Clara Broncos in their return trip for 2016. The match-up will be the 31st between the schools in a series that started in 1951. BYU has a commanding lead in the series as they are 25-5 against the Broncos and have not lost to them since joining the West Coast Conference.

Santa Clara, CA 2015 (81-46)

Behind the hot hands of Tyler Haws and Chase Fischer, the Cougars rocketed past the Broncos in a game that was never close. Haws and Fischer each scored 14 points, pulled down three rebounds, and dished out three assists in the 81-46 win. The Cougars used a 12-1 run to break the game open in the first five minutes. With less than eight minutes left in the half the Cougars led 36-8 after another run of 22-2. BYU would increase their lead in the second half to 38 before the Broncos pulled within 35 to finish the game.

Provo, UT 2016 (97-61)

Kyle Collinsworth once again treated the Cougar faithful to a triple double, his ninth career one,  as he joined four other Cougars in double digit scoring. The Cougars got out to a fast lead and never looked back as they out matched the Broncos on both sides of the floor. Up by 14 at the half the Cougars continued to share the ball and hit shots as they built an insurmountable lead down the stretch. Nick Emery led all scorers with 23, on 5 of 6 shooting from behind the arc, in the 97-61 win in Provo.

The Outlook

The Cougars responded well to the tough loss against Pacific as they faced the San Francisco Dons on the road. In another shoot out the Cougars offense showed up to the tune of 114 points. The defense showed up in the first half and allowed three points less than the first meeting this year. When the Cougars shooters are on they are hard to beat, and they proved it last night.

The Positives

The offense was a team effort with six Cougars in double-digits. However, the key to this outburst was Nick Emery. Emery led all scorers with 37 points and ended up hitting 10 of his 12 shots from behind the arc. Not only did he tie the school record with 10 three point shots, he also broke the record for points scored by a freshman, a record held by Danny Ainge.

The Negatives

In a game like this it is hard to see many negatives but the Cougars have to be careful not to allow teams to score as much as the Dons do. San Francisco is a fast paced team but 89 points is still too much, especially since the Cougars kept them to 39 in the first half. BYU needs to find some consistency on defense as they continue the stretch run in the conference.

The Keys to Watch

When the Broncos have the ball:

Watch for the Broncos to give Jared Brownridge a bit more help this time around. Last game he was the only player for the Broncos in double digit scoring, and the team ended up with only 61 points. Watch for them to look for the extra pass and the open guy in order to improve their shooting percentage at home. In Provo they shot 34% from the field, and only 25% from behind the three point line. Watch for the Broncos to focus on higher percentage shots that will get other players involved as they look to take away some of the pressure on Brownridge. Watch for Nate Kratch to once again lead the team in rebounding, but look for him to be more aggressive going after the ball and getting more than the eight in the first game. Once again KJ Feagin will guide the team and try to spread the ball around as he had five assists in Provo.

Watch for the Cougars to use a similar game plan for this game as the one they had in Provo. With tight defense and very little wiggle room, the Broncos couldn't count on getting good shots and as a result they shot a poor percentage. Watch for the Cougars to play physical as they try to force even more difficult shots from the Broncos at home.

When the Cougars have the ball:

Watch for the Cougars to replicate their offensive success as they look for the extra pass and easier shot. The Cougars had 19 assists in the first meeting and five players in double digit scoring. Watch for the Cougars to once again take advantage of their size and speed as they run and stretch the floor as they control the tempo and force the Broncos to run with them. Watch for the shooters to take advantage of mismatches and drive the lane in order to open up the outside shots.

Watch for the Broncos to focus on slowing down the Cougar offense in any way possible. They will play physical as needed, but will first try to get in the lanes and in the way of the ball handler so it turns into a half court game. Watch for the Broncos to try and protect the paint and force the longer shots, and allowing their perimeter defenders to play aggressive with the Cougar offense. They know their best chance of pulling an upset is to keep the game in the 60's and not the 90's so they must slow the game down and limit possessions.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 2 pm MST

Where:  Leavey Event Center-Santa Clara, CA



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

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