How is the BYU basketball team responding to that crushing blow from St. Mary's on Wednesday's night?
We won't know until Saturday night when the Cougars take on San Diego at the Marriott Center (7 p.m., BYUtv), because the players have not been made available to the media since immediately after the loss (Tyler Haws and Matt Carlino).
Coach Dave Rose met with reporters today before the Cougars practiced at the Marriott Center, however, and said he thinks his team is over the bitter disappointment.
"Guys are disappointed, I think," Rose said. "But they should be, because they played hard, they played well. We actually played well enough to win.
But we don't win, and so you got a lot invested in this, and you want them to actually have it sting.
But they were, by the end of practice [Thursday], and by the time we got out, excited and looking forward to the next game, and moving on, and you try to look for silver linings in this and one is the fact that it wasn't on a bye week. We get to play again on Saturday, and that's how you kinda move forward is you get a chance to go back out there and play."
I asked Rose where the 70-69 setback to SMC ranks on his list of toughest losses in his career.
"They are all hard. But the losses when you don't get to play again, those are the worst. And we get to play on Saturday, so let's go," he said.
The Cougars should be fairly healthy for the game against the Toreros, who are 4-0 in WCC play, 11-8 overall.
Rose said sophomore guard Matt Carlino's back, which was giving him problems before the SMC game, seems to be getting better.
"He is still treating it," Rose said. "He had treatment yesterday and treatment again today. But he says it is feeling better. I was actually pleased with how he played. He took a couple really tough falls and got right back up, so hopefully he is on the mend."
Here are more of Rose's comments today:
On having the extra day to prepare for USD:
"I actually think so, because when we go Thursday-Saturday we don't have a lot of time to go back and review the film until Monday, because we just move on, on that Friday for preparation [day].
But we had a chance to go back and look at it, we had a chance to talk about it, we had a chance to address the things in the guts of the game that we can do better. But we also had a chance to talk about the things that we did really well. And the things we did really well in that game is we competed, and we found ways to keep ourselves in the game when we weren't playing our very best. We found ways to get other guys in the game when some of our mainline guys weren't playing their very best.
We had Brandon foul out and we still had a chance late in the game to execute a play, score the ball and had a chance to win."
On whether he tightened the rotation due to pace of the game against the Gaels, or for some other reason:
"Not as many possessions in the game. I think of all the games this year, we took the least amount of shots. And in those kind of situations, when you are not substituting for fatigue issues, and the pace of the game and those things, it just naturally shrinks [playing time] a little bit."
On why Raul Delgado, Ian Harward, Cory Calvert didn't play vs. SMC:
"I would say it would be more specific to that game, and the pace of that game. We will see how things go against San Diego. They play a little bit quicker, but a lot of it now we will go, like we have talked about, we have a core group of guys and these guys coming in off the bench, we will get an opportunity to see how they are playing that night, and hopefully we can continue to rely on 12 or 13 guys, even on the nights we only use eight or nine."
On whether Brandon Davies' ankle is reason why he's struggling a bit lately:
"I think he is getting a lot of attention from opposing teams. I think physically that he feels good, and I look for Brandon to break out here pretty quickly. And the sooner the better for us."
On knowing coach Bill Grier of USD and what he's like as a coach:
"I have known Bill for a long time. He's a great coach, a really good competitor, and this team he's got right now, he's got them playing the very best that they have played all year long. And it is a unique challenge when you face a team that is on a nice little roll. And they've won five or six games in a row, haven't been beat in league. They've won their last two league road games. So they are a team with a lot of confidence.
Very good detailed defensive team. They will have all our halfcourt sets, things that we want to do, scouted and they will have a way they are going to guard it. And we will have to counter to it. They will be very good in their transition defense.
And then offensively, he's always got four guys on the floor who can really score, so it is a good team."
On facing another good point guard in USD's Christopher Anderson:
"Yeah, Anderson is a guy who can get anywhere he wants on the floor. We are going to have to corral that and contain him. Then [Johnny] Dee is a guy who can make every shot. He's got any kind of shot. He can dribble into threes, he can catch and shoot threes, he is a guy who can shoot off the bounce, good at the free-throw line.
Rancifer is a real good driver who can finish. Now they've got this big kid coming off the bench [from Greece] a three-point shooter.
Offensively, he's really getting a lot of balance. You just look at how they score, he's got seven or eight guys scoring seven or more points a game. So it is a balanced team."
On why his BYU teams rarely lose two in a row:
"Hopefully we can move forward. As disappointing as maybe the last game was where you weren't successful, you try to get that behind you as quickly as possible, and realize that the only way that you can kinda fix that is to win the next one. So hopefully our guys are focused on that. And like I said, when we left the gym yesterday, it looked like the guys were in pretty good spirits, and hopefully we are good [at practice] today and we will play well tomorrow night."
On whether he addresses NCAA Tournament berths and being on the bubble and all that:
"No. That's what you guys talk about. If you came and listened to what we talk about, you would never hear 'on the bubble.'
On whether players follow bracketology and that sort of thing:
"They guys might follow it, but for us, we are addressing one thing, and that is let's prepare and try to win the next game."
On whether he ever second-guesses himself after losses:
"I think every coach probably looks at it differently. For me, my approach is that in a game like that, where there are so many plays that can make a difference, you always want to naturally go to the last play. In reality, there are some times in sports, and what makes sports so great, is that it is no one's fault. It is just that someone made a play. And that's how hopefully we can get all of our coaches to look at it, and guys don't beat themselves up, and understand that we executed and we made enough plays, and enough good plays to win the game, and they made one more.
It wasn't an easy shot. OK? It is not like we gave him a layup at the rim."
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