The BYU Cougars welcome the San Diego Toreros into the Marriott Center after dropping the first game in San Diego. With the loss the Cougars have now won two of the last three games and hold an overall record of 8-3. Before the loss in San Diego, the Cougars had not dropped a game to the Toreros since 2013.
San Diego, CA 2015 (77-74 Loss)
In a game where the Cougars led most the way, they couldn't finish it off and fell to the Toreros in the final minutes. The Cougars fell behind by seven early, but came back to take the lead and kept it until a 13-2 run by San Diego gave the Toreros the final lead with about four minutes left in the game. BYU had its chances to come back, but couldn't make the stops necessary. Kyle Collinsworth's last attempt to tie the game rolled off the rim and the Cougars fell 77-74. Tyler Haws led all players with 20 points and Collinsworth added 13 to go along with his nine rebounds and three assists. Skyler Halford was the only other Cougar to score in double-digits, adding 12.
San Diego, CA 2014 (78-70 Win)
In the final road conference game of the regular season, the Cougars traveled to San Diego and were led by 25 points from Tyler Haws. BYU took an early lead that ballooned to 16, but after a run by the Toreros, the Cougars led by eight at halftime. San Diego finished its comeback early in the second half, taking three-point lead at 50-47. The two teams traded leads before BYU went on an 11-2 run to finish the Toreros. Matt Carlino added 14 points, four rebounds, and six assists in the 78-70 win.
The Cougars are riding high after three straight blowout wins, including a win over second-place Saint Mary's. After being counted out of the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars are making their way back into the discussion as they keep looking to improve and make it impossible to keep them out. With the Cougars' win over Pacific, the team under Dave Rose has now won at least 20 games in 10 consecutive seasons, an accomplishment that many teams see as just a pipe-dream.
Once again, the triple-double watch was in full force as Kyle Collinsworth finished the game with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists. The fans were disappointed that he was removed from the game with 30 seconds to go, but with the game in hand it was the safe move. Possibly outshining even Collinsworth was Josh Sharp. Sharp started in place of the injured Anson Winder and made his presence known in key moments of the game. He had seven rebounds that were key, but also a couple of well-timed blocks that ignited the crowd and the team. If the Cougars can continue to get this type of production from their role players, the team will continue to improve and win.
The most concerning aspect of the game against Pacific was the fact that the Cougars let the Tigers hang around for three-quarters of the game. Pacific has now lost seven straight, but with just under 10 minutes left in the game they had a one-point lead. The Cougars used a technical foul to start a run that put the game away, but it should never have been that close in the second half. The Cougars can't let teams hang around in the second half and expect to make noise in the conference, NIT, or NCAA Tournaments.
The Keys to Watch
When the Toreros have the ball:
Watch for San Diego to get the ball to senior guard Johnny Dee and let him do whatever he wants with it. Dee averages 18 points per game on the year, no other player on the Toreros comes close to that average. In the first game, the Cougars held Dee to his average of 18, but allowed Thomas Jacobs to come off the bench and score 19. Jacobs only averages 6.9 points per game.
Christopher Anderson will also play a role in this game as he will act as a facilitator for Dee, averaging 6.5 assists per game. He also throws in the occasional bucket as he is second in scoring at 8.2 points per game. The Toreros struggle to score only hitting 42 percent of their shots and averaging just under 66 points per game. Watch for San Diego to play scrappy and make BYU defend for the full 35 seconds.
Watch for the Cougars to force the outside shots, play physically, and attack the boards, forcing the Toreros to make shots on their first attempts. BYU will need to do a much better job of this the second time around. San Diego nabbed 13 offensive rebounds which led to 16 second chance points in the last matchup. Watch for the Cougars to provide help defense when Dee and Anderson have the ball and force others to try to win the game.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for the Cougars to continue to attack the rim and attempt to draw fouls. With the three-point shot currently falling for guys like Chase Fischer and Skyler Halford, the Cougars will continue to play outside to inside, but will also attempt to drive and get free-throws. Watch for the Cougars to push the ball and the tempo so the game is played at their pace.
Once again, we are unsure if Winder will be back in the lineup. If he does return, look for him to pick up right where he left off and provide another consistent shooter on the court. Josh Sharp has played well in his absence and has provided another energy guy on the court, leading to offensive rebounds and renewed energy for the rest of the team.
Watch for the Toreros to try and disrupt passes that will speed up the Cougars offense. If they can prevent the first pass, they don't have to worry about getting lost on the second and third passes. Watch for the post players to test out Corbin Kaufusi and Ryan Andrus early as they try to win the rebounding battle. If they can get the rebounds and hustle plays, while deflating the confidence of the BYU big men, San Diego just may find themselves in position to steal another game from the Cougars.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 8 pm MST
Where: Marriott Center- Provo, UT
Radio(BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet(KSL): Click Here