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PROVO -- After almost eight months of hibernation, the Cougars are crawling out from their den just in time to take on the Pacific waves rolling in.
With emails being sent out to fans informing them that the "HibernationIsOver," Brigham Young University is pumped and ready for its home-opener against BYU-Hawaii on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Coming off a difficult season-opener loss (69-62) against Utah State, BYU is more focused and prepared for its second game of the season.
We foul way too much right now. We need to be physical but within the rules, keep our hands off guys. We need to be more aggressive at the rim, at times I think we settle for jump-shots when we had opportunities to drive.
Coach Dave Rose set specific goals and objectives after the loss for his players to reach by their first season game at the Marriott Center.
“I’d like to see us play 40 minutes of consistent good basketball on both ends of the floor,” Rose said. “We foul way too much right now. We need to be physical but within the rules, keep our hands off guys. We need to be more aggressive at the rim, at times I think we settle for jump-shots when we had opportunities to drive.”
Contrastingly, in their last game against Zhejiang University of China — part of the American Money Group Asia-Pacific Basketball Tournament — the BYU- Hawaii Seasiders came out with a 100-68 win.
Ultimately, the team’s 29 steals greatly contributed to the Seasiders’ win. Such a high skill level of steals is especially threatening for the Cougars who acknowledge turnovers as one of their biggest issues.
Rose recognizes the urgency of addressing the issue.
“That’s something we need to get better at … a lot of it (is) that we (are) just careless, careless with the ball. We got a lot of guys playing in new positions and just need to get them to feel comfortable.”
However, BYU and BYU-Hawaii aren’t polar opposites in every way. Outside of the obvious university association, both teams share in a highly successful previous season.
Having All-American Jimmer Fredette and making a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division One Tournament, BYU experienced one of its most successful seasons ever.
BYU-Hawaii also experienced a highly successful season last year when it faced Bellarmine in the NCAA Division Two Championship game and lost by a mere three points.
BYU-Hawaii’s talent did not end with the buzzer of that championship game, though. In the pre-season, the Sporting News and Basketball Times both ranked BYU-Hawaii fifth. Also, among those returning from BYU-Hawaii’s championship team is Jet Chang, a pre-season All-American and pre-season NCAA II Player of the Year.
Last season, Chang averaged 21.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Also, he was named Most Outstanding Player of the Elite Eight after averaging 33.3 points per game (35 points in the championship game) — an average that could easily make any BYU fan mutter cries for “Jimmer.”
However, BYU still has a chance to carry out a successful season. With Stephen Rogers’ combined talent of playing strong under the rim and playing clutch up top and even more experienced players such as Noah Hartsock, Charles Abouo and Chris Collinsworth, the Cougars should be ready for an aggressive season and first home court battle against the BYU-Hawaii Seasiders.