Provo • If last week’s busy stretch in the West Coast Conference showed anything to BYU’s basketball team, it is that it needs another reliable outside shooter.
The Cougars went 2-for-25 from 3-point range in the 82-68 loss to Loyola Marymount and just 2-for-12 in the 77-64 win over Pepperdine.
Coach Dave Rose said Monday in a teleconference that help might be on the way. Junior forward Stephen Rogers is close to returning to the lineup after re-aggravating his right knee injury on Monday against San Diego. Rogers, who is 16-for-44 (36.4 percent) from 3-point range this season, has missed eight games since undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus in December.
“We will know more after practice [Monday], but I hope so,” Rose said. “He is feeling better. He has been on some anti-inflammatories. I think the swelling in the knee is gone for the most part, and that has eliminated a lot of the soreness and pain. We will .... do some things in practice and then see how he feels tomorrow, but hopefully we can get him out there because we can really use another shooter, especially as we get into February.”
The Cougars (17-5) step out of WCC play on Wednesday, traveling to Blacksburg, Va., to take on Virginia Tech (12-7) of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hokies, 1-4 in league play, defeated Virginia 47-45 on Sunday for their first league win and will probably be the best defensive team the Cougars will play all season.
Rose said BYU’s other injured player, sophomore forward Chris Collinsworth, is “still a ways away” from returning to action.
“He is improving,” Rose said. “I think he has some added encouragement because of how his knee is responding to physical therapy the past two weeks. Hopefully he will continue to progress. As far as a timeline and when he will be back, I don’t think anybody really knows that.”
Noah Hartsock had three blocks against Pepperdine and now has 158 in his career, fourth-most in program history. He needs eight more to tie Russell Larson. ... The Cougars dropped out of ESPN basketball analyst Joe Lunard’s Bracketology projections for the NCAA Tournament and are now listed as one of the “First Four Out.” ... The Cougars will leave for Virginia Tech on Tuesday morning and return to Provo via a charter flight immediately after Wednesday night’s game. ... Asked Monday if he will make any changes to his starting lineup after Craig Cusick played more at point guard in the second half than Matt Carlino on Saturday, Rose said, “we will see.”
Wednesday’s nonconference game
BYU at Virginia Tech, 5 p.m. MST