Cougars Look to Learn From Loss, Beat Utah

On Wednesday BYU fell to New Mexico in a tough road loss at The Pit while Utah suffered a road loss of its own to the Cowboys of Wyoming. With students camping in tents out front of the Marriott Center, the Cougars come home to face a Utah team that hasn't won at the Marriott Center since 2005.

The Cougars look to rebound on Saturday from their loss to New Mexico. But before taking a look at the Running Utes, what went wrong down in The Pit against the Lobos? Cougar center Chris Miles gives some insight.

"There was a screen in the game at a crucial time where Jackson was at the top of the key guarding their point guard," Miles said. "Because of foul trouble, I was out and Noah [Hartsock] had to guard their five-man on a flat screen, and that's just something we're not used to guarding with that kind of personnel. It was just something that we could have been a little bit more prepared for. If it wasn't for foul trouble we wouldn't have had to be in that situation, but that's the way that we kind of got mixed up and gave the edge to New Mexico during the game."

According to Miles, the Lobos were able to place BYU in some uncomfortable match-up situations.

"I think in a couple of ways and we have to be honest with ourselves," said Miles. "[New Mexico] played really, really well and made the plays that allowed them to win the game. We saw the plays that we missed out on that we needed to win. When you add that to the chess-match situation that the game turned into being, we put ourselves at a disadvantage.

"It's a thing that every team has to deal with when taking a loss, and luckily it's something that we haven't had to deal with too much this season. At the same time the loss to New Mexico was good in kind of a crazy way because this does a couple of things for us. It makes us more hungry and it also helps us to know what we can do better in given situations."

Hopefully the Cougars have been able to fix the chinks in their armor this week as they've prepared for the rivalry game against a Utah team with some diverse on-court qualities.

"Utah is a team that has guys that have a combination of everything," said Miles. "They have guys that can make shots from the outside as well as guys that can push the ball and drive. They also have really good depth that can come off the bench and post presence. What makes them tough is if they can use all of those parts well then they can beat you, and I think that's been part of the success in why they've been able to beat some big teams. At the same time, it's a situation where it can be hard to put all of that together."

"One of the big keys for us in our ability to win is we have to be able to rebound the ball," said Coach Rose. "When we control the boards we've usually been pretty successful, and so being able to rebound the ball will be a big key in this."

"I think in my opinion we need to play really unselfish and we need to step up make shots and outplay them," Miles said. "It could be as simple as that, and when I say outplay them I mean we need to hustle and out-rebound them and do all the little things along with the big things as well."

The Cougar shooters will be tested by 7-foot-3-inch Ute center and shot-blocking machine David Foster, who has so far compiled 24 blocked shots in conference play and 82 total on the season.

"He's a big presence and he's smart in his post defense, so we have to take care of him," said Tyler Haws.

BYU fans know how intense the rivalry between BYU and Utah is when it comes to the football teams. According to the Cougar hoopsters, it's pretty much the same scenario with basketball as well.

"It's intense," said Miles. "You can't fit quite as many people in [the Marriott Center] as you can LaVell Edwards Stadium, but it's intense. It's a local game so they can bring a lot more fans in, so it becomes a crazy mixture in the stands and it [has] an incredible place. I think it's been intense since last Tuesday getting ready for this game."

"It's always a challenge and it's always a fun game and crazy environment with lots of fans," said Haws about the rivalry. "It's a game we've been looking to. This is my first rivalry game and it's in the Marriott Center and in front of our crowd. I think it's pretty similar in the rivalry sense to how it is with the football games. The rivalries are always fun and it's going to be a battle."

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