Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BYU basketball: Cougars will attempt to rebound against Pepperdine in WCC action

By Dick Harmon, Deseret News

Published: Sun, Dec. 29 1:30 p.m. MST

 BYU's Tyler Haws, left, Frank Bartley IV, Josh Sharp, Kyle Collinsworth and Matt Carlino come together at mid-court after Oregon took the lead in overtime in an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.

BYU's Tyler Haws, left, Frank Bartley IV, Josh Sharp, Kyle Collinsworth and Matt Carlino come together at mid-court after Oregon took the lead in overtime in an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.

(Chris Pietsch, Associated Press)

MALIBU, Calif. — BYU coach Dave Rose is looking for consistency when the Cougars play Pepperdine on Monday in the second game of their third campaign in the West Coast Conference.

The Waves (8-5, 1-0) host BYU at 8 p.m. MST in Firestone Fieldhouse. The game will be televised on TWC and Root Sports.

The Cougars (8-6, 0-1) looked capable of knocking off undefeated and ranked opponents in posting double-digit leads over Oregon, Wichita State and Iowa State, but they broke down defensively and sputtered offensively at Utah and Loyola Marymount. After fall at LMU, Rose has lost three in a row for the first time in his BYU head coaching career.

That's partially the result of scheduling. But it's also the result of inconsistency and poor defense.

"To have a team that's really successful you have to be able to count on certain guys to do certain things every night,” said Rose.

“That's what we're lacking right now. We don't really know what we can count on going through the lineup and the roster. So that will be our challenge to find what we know we have and what we can count on and hopefully be consistent with that."

In the loss to LMU, the Cougars’ two big guns, juniors Tyler Haws and Matt Carlino, struggled offensively. They combined for 8-of-28 shooting, neither one making more than four buckets.

One player who has emerged despite little playing time is junior college All-American guard Skyler Halford. He averages just 12 minutes a game but is shooting 57 percent from the field, 46 percent from beyond the arc and 77 percent from the line with an 8-point-per-game average.

"I just try to bring it every day at practice,” said Halford. “We've had enough time to let these losses soak in and we need to come out a little better. We need to come out with a little more fire and a little more edge. That's the bottom line. We've got to come together as a team and we've just got play. We've got to play extremely hard at a high level."

Pepperdine features a trio of players averaging in double figures. They include 6-6 forward Stacy Davis (15. 8 ppg), 6-9 Brendan Lane (15.2 ppg) and 5-10 point guard Jeremy Major (11.5 ppg).

In Saturday’s opening WCC loss at Loyola Marymount, the Cougars learned quickly that their league brothers are gunning for them. Despite an overwhelming pro-BYU crowd, the Cougars could not muster any firepower against a Lion squad that took away the fast break by sending three men back on defense as fast as possible.

"Everybody said how difficult our schedule was in the preseason," Rose said. "The bottom line is we told the guys what's really hard is what we're about to jump into here. It's way more difficult than the games we just played. These league games everybody scouts you; everybody knows you. They know your tendencies. They know how you want to play and they try to make you play a different way."

Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at dharmon@desnews.com.

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1. Crow
Sandy , UT,
Dec. 29, 2013

That's right Dick attempt to bounce back but when your 14 games into your season and you don't know what you have it's kind of hard too.

2. DrUte
Woods Cross, UT,
Dec. 29, 2013

Have to agree that so far this is not a typical BYU/Rose team.

We all know that teams must evolve as the season progresses in response to the different defenses they face; surely this team will study results so far and decide how they must modify their O & D game plans in response to the current "book" on BYU.

And you can bet there have been hours and hours spent in the film room.

Be patient, Blue Folk, these temporary shortfalls will most likely be over very soon.

Institutional history and tradition are simply too strong to allow these types of results to continue.

These young men are hurting in a variety of ways, very likely a deep visceral hurt. Hopefully the Blue Faithful will take this opportunity to support their young men and coaches, now more than ever.

3. Cougar Blue 1
Henderson , NV,
Dec. 30, 2013

Here is idea, quit playing Collinsworth at point. All he does in that position is turn the ball over. He thinks he has handles (and for some odd reason Rose does to), but he doesn't. That may have flown in high school, but not in college. Maybe encourage to develop a jumper and work on his free throws. Both of which he is terrible at. Thankfully he is a good rebounder, but when you have 5 of the teams turnovers, something has got to change.
Would love to see Skyler more. He and Haws are there only pure shooters.

4. thebigsamoan
Richmond, VA,
Dec. 30, 2013

Winning is the only cure all to any team problem they have. All their woes at the moment will quickly disappear if they can only learn to start winning again to build their confidence up. Right now I think they are in the dumps and their confidence level is very shaky at best. I blame those dang Utes again! They've sure got a riddle that we can't seem to solve! Even their strategy of playing an OOC schedule of so called soft teams to build their confidence level seems to be paying huge dividends for them, just in time for their conference play. And quite frankly, I think Coach K2's strategy is proving to be a brilliant one! Hope Coach Rose and the boys will turn this thing around soon!

Go Cougars!

5. Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT,
Dec. 30, 2013

This team just isn't very good.