Provo • The 2013-14 basketball season has taught us that coach Dave Rose’s BYU team can still score with the best of them. The Cougars are averaging 87.5 points per game, second best in NCAA Division I basketball. Only VMI, at 87.9, averages more.
Naturally, most assume that 13-9 BYU’s biggest problem is on defense. That may be true, but another of the Cougars’ glaring weaknesses is on the offensive end of the floor. It is 3-point shooting.
Simply, the Cougars don’t utilize that weapon nearly as much as most teams around the country.
BYU players have taken 200 fewer 3-point shots than their opponents (517-317).
The Cougars aren’t awful from long range — they rank 100th out of 345 teams in 3-point accuracy, 36.3 percent. It’s just that they don’t take enough. They rank No. 244 in 3-point attempts and No. 274 in 3-pointers made.
Conversely, BYU plays in the best 3-point shooting conference in the country. The West Coast Conference leads the nation with a 37.5 3-point field goal percentage.
In their four WCC losses this season, the Cougars have allowed teams to shoot 52 percent (45 of 86) from 3-point range, while making just 15 on 56 attempts.
Loving the venue
Although they were walloped at the McCarthey Athletic Center by Gonzaga for the third straight year, the Cougars went away from the venue commonly referred to as The Kennel having loved the atmosphere.
“It was awesome. The fans were awesome. They were loud — one of the best atmospheres I have played in this year. Yeah, it is a cool place,” said BYU freshman forward Eric Mika. “Yeah, it did feel different [than the typical WCC venue]. It was kind of weird coming out of the tunnel and getting booed rather than having louder cheers for us than the other team.”
Tyler Haws was also impressed.
“I love playing in environments like this,” Haws said. “I mean, it doesn’t get any better in college basketball than in something like that. They are fun places to play, and I thought we were up for the challenge. We just came up short.”
WCC honors USD’s Dee
Haws averaged 35.5 points per game last week, but it wasn’t enough to earn the BYU junior WCC Player of the Week honors. Nope, not when his team lost a pair of games.
The honor went to San Diego’s Johnny Dee, who averaged 23.5 points as the Toreros lost a close game at Gonzaga and won a close game at Portland.
Dee made two free throws with 7.4 seconds left to seal the 65-63 win at Portland. Had Dee not won the honor, it probably would have gone to Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, who had 24 points against the Cougars in the 84-69 win.
The big week moved Haws up to No. 5 in the country in scoring, with a 23.6 average.
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