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BYU basketball: Lessons from the Cougars west coast road trip

Despite losing their last two games on the road, the Cougars have proved that they can compete and look to come back home to the Marriott Center and turn their season around.

Dave Rose is looking for answers after dropping two games on the road.
Dave Rose is looking for answers after dropping two games on the road.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It was a roller coaster of emotions for the BYU Cougars over the course of their last road trip. They found themselves on a five game winning streak, gained some confidence and found their way while fighting for WCC dominance. Then they had a heart breaker in Portland where they lost in triple overtime, despite a record breaking performance from Tyler Haws. Everything then came a halt in the Kennel against Gonzaga, where BYU fell behind in the second half and could not keep up with the Zags.

Despite losing their last two games on the road and falling to fourth in the WCC standings, BYU should still hold their heads high. We saw many wonderful and positive things about the Cougars on this road trip that should not be forgotten. We learned that BYU can compete for the WCC title in Las Vegas this year and not lose all hope about the big dance. This season is not dead, far from it.

Here are a couple of things that we should remember and keep in mind from this road trip that will help the team win later this season:

Tyler Haws Can Play In Big Games

We all know that Haws has struggled in big games and at times almost disappears; remember last year when Tyler Haws traveled to Gonzaga and only scored 1 point? Well apparently Haws doesn't! Haws traveled into Gonzaga, once of the hardest places to play in the nation for the past decade, and put up 23 points and shot .467 percent from the field.

None of us will forget Haws' game against Portland where put up 48

points in triple overtime, third highest single-game point total in school history.

If anything, this road tripped proved that Tyler Haws can play in the spotlight and help lead the team to victory in those tough match ups we will see later in the year.

Matt Carlino Is A Distributor

Since Matt Carlino has begun playing off the bench, his efficiency rating has risen tremendously. Despite a poor performance against Gonzaga, where he only scored two points, he has helped the team get more open looks and cleaner shots. In the last three games Carlino has had 19 assist, and his only turnover came against Gonzaga.

So much rides on the performance of Carlino that it is crucial that he helps the team in anyway possible. This season Carlino has attempted, and made, more three-point shots than any other Cougar on the team. When Carlino gets rolling the Cougars are a different team that can run with anyone.

The Bench Can Provide That Spark

During the game against San Francisco Haws got two quick fouls in the first minute, resulting in him missing the entire first half. The BYU benched stepped up tremendously and showed that the team can function without Haws running the floor. Anson Windor came off the bench and shot 71 percent from the field and scored 16 points in the absence of Haws. In that game the bench scored 35 points while shooting 67 percent on the field while only committing one turnover.

The bench has proven that it can help the team in a crunch, and provide some desperate needed scoring if needed. The only problem with the bench is that when Mika and Austin are both in foul trouble, Sharp and Worthington are not the same caliber of players as the starters. Teams know this and when Mika and Austin are off the court the Cougars struggle and fall behind. The Cougars big men need to learn how to step up without getting into early foul trouble.

The Team Is Still On The Bubble

If the team is going to make the tournament they are going to have a good shot at it since their last 6 of 9 games are at home. If the Cougars can snag a win over Gonzaga at home and in St. Marys it will give the team some much needed quality wins to add to their resume on the season. Right now they are leaning pretty heavily on their strength of schedule to make the big dance.

Better Play at Home

We all know how much better the Cougars play at home against their opponents. It is always nice having the ROC student section at your back instead of being at The Kennel in Spokane. The Cougars are 8-1 at home this year only losing to #16 Iowa State. The Cougars average over 80 points a game at home and have outscored their opponents by an average of 25 points all season.

Keep The Faith

The Cougars have had their struggles this season and have lost some really close games. However, the team has looked very sharp against some of the nation's best teams and proved that they could be a scary team to play against in March.

Look for the Cougars to rebound at home against Pacific (11-8) and St. Mary's (16-5). The Cougars next 4 games will be played in the Marriott Center.

What else did you learn from the road trip? Let us know in the comments below.