The BYU Cougars will face off against the Southern Virginia Knights in the Cougars second game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The two teams have never met on the basketball court. Southern Virginia is a Division III school and is proud to be the only private liberal arts college that is dedicated to educating LDS students. The Knights finished last year with a 6-16 record overall and list six players from the state of Utah on their roster.
The Cougars now have two games under their belts and are looking to fine tune their offense and establish their defense before the trip to Maui. The fans continue to be optimistic that the offense will be consistent and that any concerns on defense can be addressed. Tyler Haws is, well, Tyler Haws, and fans were pleased, if not surprised by the solid contribution of Chase Fischer. Of course, solid and consistent play from the bench isn't too much to ask for either.
The play of Skyler Halford against LBSU was an unexpected, but pleasant, surprise. One or two games won't change the perception of his play, but if he can make a consistent contribution to the offense, he will continue to earn his playing time. In general, the point guard play has been better than expected and it will make for tougher decisions for the coaching staff as less minutes become available with the return of Kyle Collinsworth.
Just like last season the Cougars have started off the year by giving up way too many offensive rebounds. LBSU managed nine offensive rebounds against the much bigger Cougars, and managed 13 second chance points. The Cougars have generally been able to make up the difference on the defensive boards, but it is a trend that BYU can not continue to follow as they jump into tougher competition.
Preston Eaton vs BYU Point Guards
Senior Point Guard Preston Eaton, from Mapleton, will be making his return to Utah County as the Knights starting point guard. He is the leading scorer on the team and put up 35 points last week in a triple overtime win over Emory & Henry. Not only did he hit four three pointers, but he also hit all 13 of his free throws. Collinsworth should again get the start, but he should be limited in his minutes as he works his way back into the rotation. Collinsworth has the size to be disruptive, but we have yet to see the quickness from him that will help lock down players. When the other point guards are playing they will need to make an effort to keep the ball away from Eaton.
SVU Bench vs BYU Bench
Southern Virginia didn't use their bench much in its first game as only seven players had at least 20 minutes, even with the triple overtime. In Provo, the Knights will be forced to use their bench as BYU runs the fast paced offense that will wear a team out. BYU has no such problem as they played 13 players in route to 95 points last week. The Cougar bench is strong enough that they could pull away very quickly if the Knights bench comes in shell shocked and unprepared.
The Keys to Watch
When the Knights have the ball:
Look for Eaton to run the offense, but attempt to get the others involved. The SVU big men have the ability to score and rebound, so look for them to get a number of second chance opportunities. Wesley Evans led the team in rebounds with 11 and added nine points, but missed a number of shots that he normally makes. If the Cougars can take Eaton out of his game early, look for Emmitt Mosely to take on the burden of leading the team.
Watch for the Cougars to press Eaton and try to force him to turn the ball over. The Knights had 18 turnovers last week and Eaton had seven of them. As the Cougars force tough shots, watch for Nate Austin and Luke Worthington to go after the rebounds in order to limit the second chance points. SVU has been susceptible to the blocked shot, giving up eight last week, so Austin could have a resume building type of night.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for the Cougars to work Collinsworth into the offense early. This is a game that the Cougars should run away with early so watch for Rose to use a number of different lineups as he tries to pin down his bench and back-up point guard. The Cougars will stay within their offense as they push the ball and heave it up from three-point land, but don't be surprised when a few plays are drawn up to go into the paint to reward the big guys.
Watch for the Knights to try and slow down the Cougars' pace. They can't beat the Cougars in a shootout so they will need to minimize the Cougars' possessions and force BYU to play half court ball. Getting hands into the lanes and deflecting the ball are a must for the Knights as disruption will be their best friend against the Cougars. If the Knights can cause turnovers, they might be able to hang in the game long enough to put some pressure on BYU.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 7:00 pm MST- Wednesday, November 19th
Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah
Radio(BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet(KSL): Click Here