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What you need to Know: BYU vs San Diego II (Basketball Edition)

With more than second place on the line, can the Cougars deliver in sunny San Diego?

Eric Mika goes up for a block against Gonzaga
Eric Mika goes up for a block against Gonzaga
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The History

The Saturday meeting between the BYU Cougars and the San Diego Toreros will be the 10th meeting between the schools with BYU holding a 7-2 lead. The first game between the schools took place in 2001 and will continue as both teams are members of the WCC, and the possibility always exists that they could meet in the WCC Tournament.

San Diego, CA 2013 (6-1)

In the second meeting of 2013, the first half was a back and forth battle before San Diego took a 40-36 lead into the locker room. With 33 seconds left in the half, Chris Manresa converted on a layup that gave the Toreros the four point lead. After halftime the Toreros went on a 7-1 run to increase their lead to 11 but couldn't put the Cougars away. BYU pulled the game to within three at 56-53 with under 10 minutes in the game and again at 67-65. Down the stretch the Cougars couldn't put the points on the board and San Diego came out with the victory 74-68. Tyler Haws again let all scorers with 27 points and Davies added 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Las Vegas, NV 2013 (6-2)

Turnovers and missed opportunities led to the second straight loss to San Diego. BYU shot a higher percentage in the game and out rebounded San Diego but they couldn't overcome blocked shots and giving up 15 points off turnovers. With the 72-69 loss, the Cougars were bounced from the WCC tournament in the quarterfinals. BYU had a chance to tie in the final seconds but Carlino couldn't sink the three-point shot to keep their hopes alive. The Cougars were led by Davies and Haws, each having 20 points. Davies also added nine rebounds and eight assists.

Provo, UT 2013 (7-2)

In the first start for Skyler Halford, he led the Cougars to an 87-53 thumping of San Diego. Behind his 28 points and three assists, the team clicked on both offense and defense. Four players ended up with double digit scoring Tyler Haws had 17, Eric Mika added 13, and Kyle Collinsworth added 12. Both teams started off strong as the teams scored 23 points in less than five minutes. The game stayed close until a 14-2 run for the Cougars gave them a 10 point lead at 29-19, and BYU never looked back. BYU ended up shooting almost 59 percent as a team and almost 67 percent from the three point line. The defense held the Toreros to 32 percent from the field and only 18 percent from three. At one point the lead reached 37 as they earned their first conference win of the year.

The Outlook

The Cougars are entering the game with a chance to solidify their second seed in the WCC Tournament. With better defense and efficient offense, BYU has suddenly won seven of their last eight games. Coming off big wins against Gonzaga and Portland can only build the players confidence, and the upset of Gonzaga by San Diego should help keep the Cougars focused on the task at hand.

The Positives

Two names sum up the game for BYU, Matt Carlino and Anson Winder. Matt Carlino took over the game when the Cougars needed it most and ended with 30 points and four steals. Carlino shot almost 69 percent from the field and over 61 percent from behind the arc, where he had 24 of his points. Anson Winder added 19 points while shooting almost 88 percent, and provided pressure in key defensive possessions.

Due to smart decisions and crisp play, the Cougars managed to win the turnover battle. With only seven turnovers for the game, the team avoided empty possessions. The defense caused 13 Portland turnovers and turned them into 18 points. If the defense continues to pressure the opponent, the Cougars will have opportunities to create extra possessions.

The Negatives

BYU lost the rebounding battle against Portland and in the process allowed 13 second chance points. The Cougars pulled down four more defensive rebounds than the Pilots, but allowed 10 more offensive rebounds. If the Cougars continue to allow a high number of offensive rebounds, second chance points will continue to give opponents momentum shifts and chances to win. BYU was able to recover against Portland but they can't expect the same result when facing tournament teams.

The Keys to Watch

When the Toreros have the ball: Watch for San Diego to keep the pace of the game slow on offense. They average less than 67 points a game and less than 11 assists. Junior guard Johnny Dee is still the leader of the team but his scoring production has dropped from 19 points a game to 17 per game. Junior Christopher Anderson leads the team with just under six assists per game, while senior forward Dennis Kramer is the leading rebounder at just under seven a game. With the drop in team points per game, only three Toreros average double digit scoring as Duda Sanadze, and Kramer add the additional firepower to Dee. Watch for the Cougars to pressure Anderson and Sanadze force them into turnovers as they both average more than two per game. The Cougars will be focused on not allowing easy shots for Dee so look for his shot percentage to be down for the game.

When the Cougars have the ball: Watch for the Cougars to take advantage of the hot shooting by Carlino. Watch for him to shoot early, but still pick his shots. With better shot selection he has ensured more open shots, while pulling the defense out a bit from the paint. Watch for the Cougars to put the ball in the paint early and take advantage of the strong play from Mika. Watch for Haws to score more than 20 as the defense continues to flock to Mika, Collinsworth, and Carlino. The San Diego defense doesn't cause a lot of turnovers so look for them to push a little harder in order to knock a few passes away. Watch for them to stay with their assignment as one slow rotation or missed assignment will result in an easy bucket for the Cougars.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 2 pm MST

Where: Jenny Craig Pavilian- San Diego,CA

TV: ROOT Sports

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

Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here