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BYU Basketball Film Study: Pacific and San Fransisco

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 25 BYU at San Francisco Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cougar Cagers split their games last week as they took on Pacific and San Francisco on the road. After putting a 21-0 run on the Tigers to put the game out of reach, BYU was the recipient of a 21-0 run as the Dons got just enough of a lead to fend off the Cougars end of game rally. Here’s a few of my observations from last week’s games.

Yoeli’s Left Hand

Coming off his compound dislocation, I was interested to see how much Yoeli would use his dominant hand and how much he would protect it. Outside of a few passes he couldn’t quite secure, he looked like his usual dominant self. I did notice that he was much more willing and comfortable to go to a left handed jump hook last week.

Last year and earlier this year he was less willing to go right to a left handed jump hook, often resorting to a step through or tough spin back. I’m sure during his time sidelined with this injury he’s done a lot of work on his left hand and it’s showing. Last year teams started to really load up on his right handed hook and it bothered him but recently he’s shown his trust in his off hand, making him even more of a headache for teams.

Walling off the paint

Jahlil Tripp is the engine that makes Pacific go and he does a lot of his work going down hill. Earlier in the game we struggled to disrupt his momentum leading to trips to the free throw line and buckets.

As the game wore on we committed a lot more to shutting him down and getting the ball out of his hands. Look at the difference in the resistance he faces here in the second half.

Here’s a still to get a good look at how committed Jake and Connor are to making sure Tripp can’t get into the paint.

byu defense against pacific
Walling off the paint against Pacific’s Jahlil Tripp

Jake has two feet in the paint and Connor isn’t shy about stunting hard to get the ball out of Tripp’s hands. We do give up a three on this possession but it was a calculated risk that paid off with Pacific only ending the game 3-13 from the three point line.

Pacific tried to counter our actions by getting Tripp moving downhill in different spots and in different actions but we did a much better job in the second half of coming to help sooner

Tripp still had a good game but BYU was able to make him much less effective in the second half.

Rebounding progress

In the last two film studies I’ve done, I pointed out some of the problems we’ve had keeping people that crash the glass from the perimeter from getting offensive rebounds. While we still have work to do in that department, we showed some progress last week. Watch Yoeli in the first clip and Jake in the second clip here.

Both Yoeli and Jake turn to find their man instead of turning to track the shot in these clips which is much better than in games before. We’re still working on doing this consistently but to really make an impact on the glass we need more possessions like this one against USF.

All three players crashing the glass are mostly accounted for and Alex, one of the free men since his assignment didn’t go rebound, comes in to clean things up. BYU kept the rebounding margins respectable last week and will continue to do so as they consistently get bodies on guys.

Dribble is back

A staple in BYU’s offense for years was a play called “Dribble” that they lifted from Utah State many years ago (USU still runs it a few times a game). With the new staff this year, I was curious if we would continue to use it. It took us a few games but “Dribble” is finally back in the playbook.

We don’t quite get it here as the pass isn’t enough on the money that Yoeli can catch it but Yoeli does get a lot of space to operate. We actually debuted it against Gonzaga a few games ago but it was good to see it used again.

Switches and Rotating

I’ve been very impressed with BYU’s ability to switch, rotate, and switch back when the need arises. It can be hard to navigate when to switch but this team is very locked into what they’re doing and where they need to be. What’s most impressive to me is the awareness we have to switch back at the right moment.

In the first clip we use the opportunity of Dalton helping on a post entry to let TJ get out and recover to his man while in the second we let the flow of the offense allow us to easily switch back and maintain our assignments.

This switch-ability and awareness was also key to helping us shut down Pacific’s shooter and keep him from getting going.

Connor did a good job on this fade to downscreen action for most of the game but this time he got caught up in it. Knowing he has Yoeli to help him allows him to be more aggressive in general and highlights how the trust this team has in each other defensively is showing on the court.


Whenever I see a new action (or one I don’t recall seeing much) I like to point it out and against USF we deployed a new out of bounds play.

This is a nice design with the guard coming down and screening for TJ as he comes into a handoff from being the trigger man. It worked pretty well both times in getting the big to commit, the window was just a little too tight in the second to get the ball to Yoeli. This team doesn’t try to get a ton out of its OBUs but we do have a few like this that seem to be pretty effective.

Disrupting guards in the ball screen

San Fransisco really got things going in the second half on the strength of their guards. BYU opted to go with a flat show and relied on the bigs to try and disrupt or string out the USF guards enough to discourage a drive.

In both of these clips the bigs do a good job of making sure the guard can’t get downhill. Yoeli makes sure he’s at the point of the screen early so the offensive player can’t build up steam and Kolby moves his feet well to string out the guard and prevent the drive.

When the Dons got going in the second half, though, we struggled to be as effective.

The San Fransisco guards were more intent on getting downhill and Yoeli wasn’t able to keep them from turning the corner here. With out inability to keep them out of the paint as well as their success in isolation the points started piling up. It will be interesting to see what coverage we go with in the rematch. We could move to a hard hedge to really stop the momentum or just stick with the same coverage and execute better.

Backdoor/Slip actions

BYU has gotten a lot of value out of backdoor and slip actions all year and it seemed especially effective in the game against USF.

The Dons were intent on taking away TJ’s right handed drives and handoffs so we used that to our advantage in the second clip. In the last clip we use a nice throw back action to get Yoeli a free run to the rim.

Unfortunately we also struggled to capitalize on the actions at times. While USF was going on it’s big run in the second half we ran a fair amount of isolation plays that didn’t work out. When we tried to shake things up by going to our backdoor actions we either didn’t throw it or couldn’t complete the play.

Notwithstanding our troubles in the second half, it was apparent that these offensive actions were a perfect counter to the amount of pressure San Fransisco was trying to put on our offense. I’m sure these actions will be big part of the gameplan in the rematch.