BYU Heads to Montezuma Mesa

BYU has enjoyed back-to-back games with huge, fired-up crowds at the friendly confines of the Marriott Center. However, on Saturday the Cougars must travel to an arena that hasn't been so friendly to them: San Diego State's Cox Arena, where BYU hasn't won at since 2003.

In addition to BYU's four-game losing streak at SDSU, the Aztecs played BYU very tough in the Marriott Center last month before losing by three points.

However, the Cougars have since regained their shooting touch and have won nine consecutive games (seven of those coming after the first SDSU game), whereas the Aztecs have lost four of the seven games since playing BYU and have lost former second-leading scorer Kyle Spain (15 points against BYU in January) for the season due to suspension.

Coach Dave Rose talked about the challenge of playing at San Diego State, saying that the fact that the Aztecs have been a really good team over the past several years has contributed to BYU's woes there.

"[The Aztecs] play a little different at home and kind of press a little bit more, so we'll have to handle the pressure and not turn the ball over," Rose said.

Last season, the Cougars were flying high heading into the game at San Diego State; they had won eight consecutive games and were ranked No. 21 in the AP poll. However, the Aztecs overwhelmed the Cougars early and got off to a 22-4 start.

"We turned the ball over quite a bit in that game, and then they got ahead and we came down and took some quick shots," Coach Rose said, "and it got away from us pretty early and then we [were] just trying just to catch up. So, we're trying to do a better job handling the ball and maybe being a little bit more patient offensively, knowing that this is a real explosive team."

Part of that explosiveness comes from SDSU's athleticism. When asked where the Aztecs' athleticism ranked among that of the different Mountain West Conference teams, Coach Rose was very complimentary.

"Well, I think it's right at the top, if not the top," said Coach Rose. "I mean, they've got good size, they're quick to the ball, they close space quick [and] they kind of speed you up a little bit. [They're a] great rebounding team on both ends of the floor, so we'll have our hands full."

As mentioned, Coach Rose emphasized the fact that his team will need to handle SDSU's pressure and athleticism. Freshman Jimmer Fredette can certainly play a part in that, as he has started seeing time at the point guard position and has made the most of it. He had 14 points on 4-7 shooting from the field and 4-4 shooting from the charity stripe against Utah on Wednesday night, and only turned the ball over once.

"I think that Jimmer's played with a lot of confidence the last couple games, and has done a really good job of what we've asked him to do." Coach Rose said. "He makes our team a lot better when we can penetrate people's pressure and get inside of that key area and kind of collapse it and kind of get shooters open."

Meanwhile, the Cougars will have to account for Lorenzo Wade, who had a game-high 21 points in this season's first matchup between BYU and SDSU. Coach Rose said he is definitely one of the players that his team has to pay special attention to, but that he certainly won't be the only one.

"You can't just stop one player and expect to beat San Diego State," Coach Rose said.

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