BYU basketball: Rare Monday game leaves Cougars with little preparation time
San Diego • West Coast Conference scheduling rules stipulate that teams may play no more than one Monday game per season. That's obviously a good thing for the BYU Cougars, who do not practice on Sundays and have little, if any, time to prepare for Monday games if they played on Saturday.
That's the case this weekend for the Cougars (15-4), who face the San Diego Toreros (6-10) on Monday at Jenny Craig Pavilion (8 p.m. MST, BYUtv) after having dispatched Santa Clara 95-78 on Saturday night at the Marriott Center.
"This feels a little different, that in January you are playing a Monday game and a Thursday game [vs. Loyola Marymount] against teams that you have already played in league," coach Dave Rose said. "But I have said all along: They all count the same. You count them up at the end and see who has got the most."
It will be BYU's first Monday game since Jimmer Fredette scored 49 points against Arizona at McKale Center on Dec. 28, 2009. At least the Cougars are familiar with the Toreros, having crushed coach Bill Grier's crew 88-52 on New Year's Eve in Provo.
"It is very interesting for us, as far as our preparation is concerned," Rose said. "We played San Diego once before, and [the Toreros] didn't shoot the ball particularly well. They have played really well of late, and we will have to get in the gym on Monday and have a pretty detailed shootaround, and then get ready to play them."
San Diego had dropped six straight games before winning 75-62 at Santa Clara on Thursday and will be better prepared for the Cougars this time around. The Toreros showed they were dangerous at Jenny Craig Pavilion 11 days ago, giving league-leading St. Mary's all it wanted before the Gaels pulled away in the final minute for a 78-72 win.
"These are big [games], very important for us," Rose said.
To avoid traveling on Sunday, the Cougars headed for the airport immediately after Saturday night's game in Provo. The plan Sunday was to attend church and conduct a fireside for members of the LDS Church in the San Diego area, but stay away from basketball.
"We will be able to relax and get ready for Monday," Rose said.
Once again, BYU's perimeter defense will be tested. The Cougars have shown they can score on almost anyone, but struggle to limit 3-point looks.
San Diego is led in scoring by freshman guard Johnny Dee, who averages 15.2 points per game (fourth in the WCC) and has made more 3-pointers (48) than 2-pointers (35). Dee went 0-for-6 from 3-point range in Provo but has hit 14 of 27 long-range shots since then.
Dee tied a season high with 26 points in the victory at Santa Clara.
BYU at San Diego
P At Jenny Craig Pavilion, San Diego
Tipoff • 8 p.m. MST
TV • BYUtv
Radio • 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
Records • BYU 15-4, 4-1
San Diego 6-10, 1-3
Series history • BYU leads, 3-0
Last meeting • BYU 88, San Diego 52 (Dec. 31, 2011)
About the Cougars • Brandon Davies scored 21 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in their 36-point win over the Toreros on New Year's Eve. ... Noah Hartsock has scored in double figures in all 19 of their games. ... Charles Abouo went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in Saturday's win.
About the Toreros • Coach Bill Grier is in his fifth season at the helm and is 61-85 in his career. ... Johnny Dee scored a season-high 26 points in their 75-62 win at Santa Clara last week, and Ken Rancifer added 11 points and 10 rebounds.