Struggling Cougars to face Gonzaga

For BYU, a game against No. 24 Gonzaga on Thursday night comes at both a good and bad time. It's good in that BYU desperately needs a marquee win for its NCAA Tournament resume, but bad in that the Cougars suddenly can't win a home game. Find out what the team had to say about its recent struggles and Thursday's big game.

Coach Rose

- "We're playing really hard and I think our guys are really positive. I think they're obviously a little disappointed in the outcome of Saturday's game, but I know that they're working hard, and that's a good sign."
- "I think what's the most important thing is to handle February like we always February, and that's trying to get better day to day and each practice try to get better. And with each loss comes a kind of renewed urgency."
- On whether he agrees that every game from here on out is do or die: "I don't know if it's do or die, but they're important. Every game's important, and it's important to improve as a team. History will tell you that our teams get better through February into March, and right now this team has that opportunity and we'll see how they can take advantage of it."

Charles Abouo

- On whether the team is worried about missing the NCAA Tournament: "We're not worried. We still have a lot of confidence in our team, but we definitely have to change some things right away."
- "We gotta definitely get better this week with these practices, and with this game, it gives us a chance to kind of get things back on track."
- On whether Gonzaga will have revenge on its mind after losing to BYU last year: "Definitely. That was a big game last year and we were fortunate enough to win, but I think that anytime you can play an opponent that beat you, any competitor would love to get a chance to beat them."
- On the atmosphere he expects on Thursday night: "I think our fans feel the same way we do. We got to get back on track, and I think that we have some great fans and I know they're eager to see us how we usually play at home. It's a tough environment for teams to win in, and unfortunately we haven't done a good job of winning at home this year, but we can change that this Thursday."
- On the team's struggles with perimeter shooting lately: "It's funny ‘cause in practice we make all the shots and we look right, but we just gotta do a better job of carrying that into the game … we're not playing at the right pace, the pace we normally play at, and that's why shots aren't falling."

Matt Carlino

- On the team's morale: "Obviously we aren't happy with the [Saint Mary's] loss, but there's still a lot of basketball left and we're just gonna try to keep on improving."
- On what the team can do to shoot better: "I think all of us are really good shooters, so we just have to continue shooting – maybe not shoot as many, maybe ease our way back into it. They're putting a lot of pressure on the three-point line too. The defenses are closing out hard, so we just have to take it inside and shoot more twos."
- On Gonzaga being BYU's last big-name home opponent: "Every game's huge from now on, so every team's a huge team because we have to beat them all now."

Noah Hartsock

- On whether he feels like a rivalry is developing between BYU and Gonzaga: "I think so, just ‘cause of the way the game went last time, how we just won it and got to the Sweet Sixteen. I'm sure they're ready to come out with an edge and I think it will be a great rivalry that's gonna build up here for the next couple years."
- On Thursday's game: "I think it's pretty big for us. I mean, losing the last two home games, you never want that to happen, so we're gonna come out, and we've been practicing really hard the last couple days and we're excited for how we're progressing right now."
- On what the team's morale is like: "We're disappointed. Just from watching tape, from the first game [against Saint Mary's]we tried to correct mistakes but still made them, so we addressed those problems and [are] just getting back to the basics. We're really focusing on competing and playing harder than the other team."
- On how they can combat heavy defense in the paint: "We've just been focusing a lot on making sure we get deep post touches. Saint Mary's, they pushed us out, and Gonzaga's got some great inside depth and great inside players, but we focus a lot [on making] sure we get a foot in the paint when we catch the ball, and do our work from there."


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