Rose Talks About His Team and the Lobos

Wednesday night the Cougars return to the scene of their only lopsided loss from last year's regular season, when they fell to the Lobos 81-62. The Cougars will have their work cut out for them if they hope to come out on the winning end this time and keep their 15-game winning streak alive. New Mexico is 18-3 and No. 23 in the AP poll.

However, Coach Dave Rose has a 3-1 record at the Pit as BYU's head coach, and no visiting team has won in that venue more than BYU. In fact, the Cougars have broken a number of long winning streaks in The Pit, even as big underdogs.

Coach Rose spoke to the media this week about playing New Mexico and about his team. Here are some of his thoughts.

-On how he would answer the question of how good this BYU team is: "I've been asked that quite a few times also, and I tell them this is a really good team, and it's a really resilient team. We have good leadership, we have talented players … This team has accomplished quite a bit, but I made the statement over the weekend that I kind of feel like we're at halftime and we're playing really well and we need to see what happens in the second half, and that's kind of where we are."

-On what went wrong last year in The Pit: "We went through a stretch where we were just really impatient offensively, and we didn't score, and that really affected our energy level defensively. They made some big shots, got some energy going, and it just kinda got away from us. That was a different team at a different time, and you never know how the game's gonna go. Hopefully we can get started in this game like we got started in San Diego, where we were attacking, we were really efficient offensively, and [we got] a little bit of a lead. But I have a feeling the game could go back and forth, there'll be runs by both teams, and we'll just have to see how it happens."

-On what is the biggest challenge that New Mexico poses: "I think that they're just really diverse offensively. They can score in so many ways from so many players, they share the ball really well, it's a really good passing team, they shoot free throws really well, they've got a good inside presence. And so when you talk about looking at different facets of the game, they've got most all of them covered."

-Rose added that the Lobos are a good rebounding team, and that they can pose some problems defensively. "You don't get in the top 25 if you're not a good team."

-On how BYU's defense this year compares to that of last year: "Well, I think that our post defense has really improved. I think Chris Miles is doing a great job of anchoring that post position. He was terrific Saturday night [against SDSU] in the 31 minutes that he played, but I think Noah [Hartsock] gives us some more size in there as far as blocking shots and defensive rebounds. But I think that this team might be a little bit better defensively. I think we might be a little bit better offensively too."

-On how much he attributes his team's ability to get better as games go on to its depth: "What I think is the depth has obviously been a real factor in helping us, especially late in games. But I also believe it's a really competitive group, and I think that as we get to the second half and it's time to win games, I think that a lot of these guys just step up and they play with a little more focus, little more intensity, and it's really paid off." Rose said he thinks this is one of his deepest teams at BYU.


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