PROVO — The BYU men's basketball team is riding its first four-game losing streak in the Dave Rose era, and desperately need a win to get back a lot of lost confidence.
A home game in the friendly confines of the Marriott Center would help. And a Saturday evening tip against travel partner San Diego comes just in time.
"It's always good to get back to the Marriott Center and play in front of your home crowd," junior Tyler Haws said Thursday during the Dave Rose Show at Malawi's Pizza. "There's something special about that place, and it's good to be back."
Having lost four straight games for the first time in the Dave Rose era, the BYU hoopsters return to the Marriott Center on Saturday to face San Diego, opening a three-game homestand that will see the Cougars play more home games in eight days than they played in the previous 45 days.
Head coach Dave Rose was asked if his players might already be more comfortable knowing they're home for a while, and he said "I hope that's not the case. I hope they understand the challenge."
"What we need to concentrate on," said Rose after his team's Thursday afternoon practice, "is that this is a real challenge, and we need to execute our game plan. We need to know it, we need to feel free and play, and not so much worry about the comfort of home because we're going to have to go back out on the road again and play."
It has been an unusual season for Dave Rose and the BYU Cougars, who as the calendar turns to 2014, are in the midst of a four-game losing skid and off to an 0-2 start in West Coast Conference play. The four-game slide is the first of the Rose era, as is the 0-2 start to league competition.
Numerous other downbeat "firsts" have occurred in the first two months of the season, accentuating the unfamiliar position in which Rose and the Cougars find themselves.
SAN FRANCISCO - BYU puts its four-year bowl win streak on the line Friday night in the 12th annual Fight Hunger Bowl, taking on a Washington team that like BYU, is 8-4 on the season and looking to finish the 2013 campaign out on a winning note.
The Cougars are led by a tenured coach wrapping up his ninth season as BYU's bench boss, while the Huskies will be helmed by a former UW quarterback and quarterbacks coach serving a one-game stint as the interim head man, before Chris Peterson takes over in Seattle. The teams' records may be identical, but the back-story of each team's bowl preparation is disparate.
"This is a unique situation and circumstance our team has been faced with the last couple of weeks," said Washington interim head coach Marques Tuiasosopo at a bowl week press conference Monday at AT&T Park, "but what I think is more important--and it has really been brought to the fore-front--is the group of young men and their ability to come together as a team and finish what they started four or five years ago."
PROVO — The Cougars wrapped up practice in Provo Friday night, feeling ready for a tough game with Washington in the upcoming Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.
BYU's senior class has produced some great players with great accomplishments over their 4+ years in the program. Among those accomplishments include a four game winning streak in bowl games. The seniors are hungry to finish most of their careers undefeated in bowl games and to set up the next year for the returning players.
"I'm ready to move on, but I'm ready to win and help set up the guys for next year" linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. "I hope to continue it (bowl win streak), and I hope to send the seniors out right."
It's arguably the toughest non-conference schedule in BYU hoops history, and it concludes Saturday at gleaming new Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, as the Cougars face the undefeated and nationally-ranked Ducks.
10-0 Oregon (No. 11 USA Today/No. 13 AP) is the fourth ranked team BYU has faced during its pre-West Coast Conference slate, thereby setting a new school record for most Top 20/25 teams faced in the non-conference portion of the regular season schedule.
So far, BYU has come up empty in games against ranked opponents, losing to Iowa State (8-0), Wichita State (11-0) and UMass (10-0). The Cougars' other setback was at Utah (10-1), so while the records are of little consolation to head coach Dave Rose, he acknowledges that his team is being tested.
PROVO — With just a week remaining before facing the Washington Huskies in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco, the BYU Cougars returned to practice on Thursday to officially begin preparations for their Pac-12 opponent.
The Cougars haven't played a football game since ending the regular season on November 30th with a win at Nevada. With finals to prepare for, and with several players dealing with injuries, the break came at a good time.
"I feel fresh out there," linebacker Alani Fua said. "I feel rested, like the beginning of the season again."
PROVO — Coach Dave Rose joined Greg Wrubell and the Cougar faithful at Malawi's Pizza for his weekly show Tuesday night. Coach Rose reviewed his team's effort against Prairie View A&M and Utah before previewing the Cougars' upcoming matchup with No. 11 Oregon on Saturday.
"We played really well on Wednesday night (against PVAMU) and I thought our guys bounced back well from our loss against UMASS last Saturday." The Cougars were beat Saturday by rival Utah 81-64 and struggled all game. "I think the most disappointing thing was that we didn't really recognize how we were playing and we couldn't find a way to fix that."
Against Utah, the Cougars struggled again from the free throw line as they shot only 54.8% from the line. "We didn't shoot the ball well at the free throw line and that puts guys sideways sometimes on how we want to execute because maybe they don't want to go back to that foul line after they've missed a couple." Coach Rose also expanded on the Cougars offensive deficiencies from Saturday saying, "We played hard and we challenged, but we were all over the place and we weren't ourselves. We didn't have patience at all offensively and instead of trying to get the best shot, we took the first shot. We never really clicked and found ourselves."
The last time BYU recorded eight consecutive basketball victories against the University of Utah, the game of basketball itself was barely 20 years old.
It was March 2, 1912, when the Cougars beat Utah for an eighth straight time, having won first eight games in the all-time series.
Flash forward more than a century, and BYU is poised to match that historical streak, with the Cougars taking a seven-game run of wins into Saturday night's meeting at the Huntsman Center.
After losing out to UNLV in a late-summer recruiting battle, BYU has ultimately landed 6-foot-6, 230-pound power forward Jamal Aytes.
BYU basketball head coach Dave Rose announced on Friday that Aytes will join the Cougar program; Aytes has signed a scholarship agreement with BYU, thus completing his transfer from UNLV.
PROVO &mdash: Defense doesn't only win championships; it also wins regular season games -- especially road ones against undefeated and nationally-ranked opponents.
Defensive struggles have been the thorn in the Cougars' paws this season and were the theme of Tuesday night's installment of the weekly "BYU Basketball with Dave Rose" radio show at Malawi's Pizza at the Shops at the Riverwoods in Provo.
BYU's high-paced offense ranks 8th nationally at 89.9 points per game, but it's 80.4 points allowed ranks 318th nationally out of 352 teams. Last Saturday's game against No. 21 UMass was no improvement. The Cougars lost 105-96 -- the most points surrendered in a BYU defeat since losing to Arizona State 106-95 in 1993.
BYU opened the week as one of the top scoring teams in the country; the Cougars' 89.9 points-per-game average ranked 8th among all Division I teams, while their speedy pace of play ranked second nationally in terms of tempo.
On the defensive end, BYU's 80.4 points per game allowed ranks 318th nationally, and while the name of the game is simply to score more points than the opponent, the Cougars are giving added attention to team defense with Prairie View A&M and Utah on this week's slate.
SAN FRANCISCO — The BYU Cougars will meet the Washington Huskies in the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl game, it was announced today by Bowl Executive Director and co-founder Gary Cavalli.
The two teams, both sporting 8-4 season records, will square off on Friday, December 27 at AT&T Park in downtown San Francisco. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. PST/9:30 p.m. EST kickoff and will be shown to a national audience by ESPN. This year's kickoff marks a return to prime time for the first time since Nevada played Boston College in the 2010 postseason.
"What an exciting opportunity for the Cougars to travel to the great city of San Francisco for the Fight Hunger Bowl and to play Washington from the Pac-12," said BYU athletics director Tom Holmoe. "Our coaches, players and fans will love the holiday season in San Francisco. It's great to be able to add to the wonderful bowl tradition that is long associated with BYU football."
PROVO — The BYU men's basketball team went 7-2 while playing four of its first nine games away from the Marriott Center, but head coach Dave Rose believes the early road trips are entirely manageable by this year's team.
"We knew this schedule would be difficult. But I felt like we had a team that could handle it, with three experienced guards," Rose said at the inaugural coach's show at Malawi's Pizza on Tuesday. "We need the young guys to perform."
The returning veterans of juniors Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws, along with recently returned missionary Kyle Collinsworth, have buoyed the Cougars as they try to put together a resume that merits an NCAA Tournament bid by March. The trio has averaged more than 53 points in the first month of the season, and freshman center Eric Mika is close behind with 13.8 points per game.
Following a 2-1 week that included wins over previously-undefeated Texas and previously-undefeated Utah State, and a loss to still-unbeaten (and nationally-ranked) Wichita State, the BYU hoopsters are back on the home hardwoods Tuesday night, meeting up with the 5-3 Mean Green from North Texas.
After his team's Monday practice at the Marriott Center, BYU head coach Dave Rose said he expects "a real fast-paced game" with a team that like BYU, ranks among the highest-tempo teams in the country. The Cougars are 2nd in Pomeroy adjusted tempo stats, while North Texas is 44th.
"These guys are really quick," Rose told reporters in his post-practice media session. "They play fast, and their guards are really good dribble-penetrators."
PROVO — The BYU Cougars practiced at the Marriott Center Friday afternoon before busing to Salt Lake City for Saturday's matchup with the Utah State Aggies at Energy Solutions Arena.
BYU has had quite a bit of success playing on the home court of the NBA's Utah Jazz. The Cougars have won seven-straight games played at ESA; which include victories over Utah State, San Francisco, Hawaii, Arizona, Oregon, Montana and Virginia Tech.
"We had a great game up there a few years ago with Utah State at Energy Solutions Arena," Coach Rose said. "With the experience of their team, starting four seniors, and the youth of our group and where we've been and the fact that we're coming off a loss, it should be a really exciting game. We're looking forward to it."
PROVO — After 12 quick weeks, Wednesday night marked the final "BYU Football with Coach Mendenhall" radio show of the 2013 season.
It was a season that began full of promise and opportunity -- returning stars, a new up-tempo offense, and the proclaimed toughest schedule in program history -- and as with any year, 2013 had its share of both ups and downs.
There were difficult loses at Virginia and against Utah (again), blow-out victories over Texas and Boise State, bowl qualification for the ninth-straight season, and a five-game winning streak rolling into the month of November.
PROVO — BYU and Utah State announced on Wednesday that the two schools have reached an agreement to add two additional games to its current football series.
The additional games will be played on Sept. 29, 2017 in Logan and in Provo on Oct. 5, 2018 — both games are on Friday night.
In the official release, BYU AD Tom Holmoe expressed his gratitude to the Aggies and his excitement to continue the series.
PROVO — BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall has had plenty of time to look at his team's loss at Notre Dame last week, and he liked what he saw of the Cougars' effort against the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind.
"I thought the team tried hard, and fell short through execution," Mendenhall said after practice Tuesday. "A few critical plays, a slow start defensively and the blocked kick at the end; I'm disappointed that we didn't make the necessary plays we needed to make."
One player who didn't disappoint was wide receiver JD Falslev. The senior team captain returned after missing two weeks with a broken hand, grabbing a touchdown pass from quarterback Taysom Hill in the 23-13 loss. The moment proved more special as a number of Falslev's family members made the trek to South Bend for the game.
PROVO — Kyle Van Noy came to BYU from Reno after a star-studded senior year at McQueen High School that saw his Lancers win the Class 4A state title in Nevada's Mackay Stadium.
After four years in Provo, the senior returns to the scene of the crime -- but the main difference isn't the football-playing Van Noy.
"I can't even get the words to say how different I am," Van Noy said after practice Monday evening. "I'm just a different person, and that's the most important thing to me; not only on the field, but off the field as well. I have a totally different perspective on life. That's a lot better, for sure."
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