The BYU Cougars and Pacific Tigers played against each other for the first time in 1961 with BYU winning 70-69 in Provo. Since then they have played 10 more times and just recently, thanks to a sweep by the Cougars last year, BYU has taken the series lead. The Cougars won the first game between the teams this season and will be looking for another regular season sweep.
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.
Stockton, CA 2016 (81-67)
The Cougars earned their first road win in West Coast Conference play as they finished their opening weekend road trip. Chase Fisher led the Cougars with 23 points on 6-11 shooting from the three point line while Collinsworth added 22 points. Zac Seljaas also got into the action with four three pointers and a total of 14 points. As a team the Cougars shot 48% from the three and used their hot shooting to finish off the Tigers. The first half was close and the teams traded leads. The second half was another story as BYU took control early and kept it for the rest of the game. The Cougars extended their lead to 16 before ending up with the 81-67 win.
The Cougar are coming off a tremendous game against the 25th ranked Saint Mary's Gaels and want to keep the momentum going. With a win over the Gaels the Cougars are back in the race for the WCC title and seeding in the tournament. If the Cougars keep this up they should be in every game, and that leads to possible wins.
We can't say enough about the defense from the Cougars. They rattled the Gaels and challenge their shots. Keeping a ranked team to 59 points is a feat that shouldn't be discounted. The Gaels ended up 34% from the field and 26% from behind the arc. The defense also had five blocks and four steals in the win.
Once again the free throw shooting failed the Cougars. As a team the 61% from the line could have cost the Cougars if not for their defense. In previous games the shooting has lost them games, tonight they avoided the loss but will need to find a cure for this season long concern. The Cougars also need to make their open shots as they shot a low percentage again. This is normal for the team on the road, but not at home.
The Keys to Watch
When the Tigers have the ball:
The Tigers shared the ball in the first game as they tried to keep the Cougars defense off guard. The result was 20 assists on their 25 made baskets. The problem was that three players scored the majority of the Tigers points, and their leading scorer only had 14 points. Watch for the Tigers to look for other players to score points, and a better game from their leader Alec Kobre. Kobre finished the game 3-7 and only eight points. Watch for him to look for more shots as the team continues to share the ball. Watch for Ray Bowles to rebound from his poor performance as well, giving him a game resembling more of his season average of 12 points and four rebounds per game.
Watch for the Cougars to again play physical with the Tigers as they disrupt and alter shots. Watch for the Cougars to once again get into the passing lanes and cause turnovers. Casing 15 turnovers was only part of the equation as the defense also blocked six shots. Watch for the Cougars to again use their size to create havoc on the defensive side of the ball.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for BYU to continue to use their freshman in a way that allows the offense to flourish when on the floor. As their three point shooting is a strength, watch for the Cougars to run plays to get them open shots from all over the floor. The Cougars shot almost 50% from behind the arc and so look for them to mimic that result. Watch for Nick Emery to play better this go around as he only had six points the last time. Watch for Emery and Chase Fischer to lead the charge from deep and open up the inside for Corbin Kaufusi and Kyle Davis.
Watch for the Tigers to stick with Emery as they try to force him to give up the ball or shoot low percentage shots. Watch for the Tigers to once again keep the Cougars from sharing the ball, only allowing 11 assists in the last game, and trying to prevent the extra pass. Watch for the Tigers to use up all their fouls as they are not afraid to play physical, and know the Cougars struggle at the free throw line. With more physical play the Tigers hope for less points by the interior men, and more rebounds for their defense.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 2 pm MST
Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah
Radio(BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
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