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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Practice report: Zylstra back on the court for BYU after ankle injury

The highlight of BYU's basketball practice came just over the lengthy workout concluded at the Marriott Center: Coach Dave Rose walked up into the bleachers to retrieve a ball. Sitting down in the eighth row, Rose sort of chucked the ball, with two hands, at one of the portable baskets directly across from the visitors' bench.

Swish.

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Unfortunately, none of the television crews -- who were interviewing Noah Hartsock at the time -- managed to catch the shot on tape.

The best news out of practice for the Cougars was that junior shooting guard Brock Zylstra practiced for the second-straight day. He should be able to play on Thursday at USF after missing the Pepperdine game with a sprained ankle.

"I wouldn't say that it is 100 percent, but I mean, it is good enough for me to play. I feel good, and I have practiced the last couple of days, so I am ready to go," Zylstra said.

Zylstra acknowledged that he probably hurt his chances of playing against Pepperdine when he decided to give it a go in the second half against Portland.

"Oh yeah, but you never know really," he said. "But most likely if I wouldn't have played, it wouldn't have swelled up as much as it did. So yeah, it might have cost me that game."

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No doubt about it, the Cougars are expecting a tough, difficult game on Thursday against the Dons. Several Cougars said after practice that USF is playing as well as any team in the WCC right now.

Rose said the Dons "are a completely different team" than the one that was blasted 81-56 at the Marriott Center last month.

"They have won seven of their last nine games. One of the games they lost they were ahead 39 minutes of the game. So we look forward to quite a test," Rose said.

Four players are scoring in double figures for Rex Walters' team, which has lost just two WCC games at home in the past two seasons.

"Well, they can really score the ball from a lot of different spots, and the preparation -- it is not the same style [as Air Force] -- but it reminds me a lot of when we prepare for Air Force," Rose said. "Because there are some things that we inherently do that we have to really change in order [to prepare] for what they do, so it won't cause us problems.

"The way they guard defensively, there are some things we will have to do, and make some adjustments, then still be able to play on attack.

Offensively, they really penetrate the ball well, and then they kick it for open shots. And then all five guys on the floor can really shoot, so that causes some problems."



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