Provo • Salt Lake City’s Westminster College is the team that has been placed in front of BYU as it wraps up its two-game exhibition schedule, so it is Westminster which will have the Cougars' undivided attention when the teams meet Thursday night at the Marriott Center.
The season opener against No. 7 Nevada next Tuesday can wait.
Put to the test with a question about how the Griffins — an NCAA Division II school — play, BYU guard TJ Haws showed he wasn’t just blowing smoke.
“They run that triple post action a little bit. But they have a lot of new guys this year. It is going to be a good challenge for us," Haws said. “They have a Utah transfer [Jake Connor]. They have a lot of good guys that can shoot the ball really well and can take you off the dribble. So we gotta be ready to go.”
BYU defeated Westminster 76-62 in an exhibition game last year as Yoeli Childs led the way with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Childs had 20 points and eight rebounds in BYU’s 92-71 win over Saint Martin’s last week in its exhibition opener.
The Griffins went 17-5 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference last season, 21-5 overall, and are picked to finish sixth in coach Norm Parrish’s fourth season.
“We have had good practices,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “This group is dialed in pretty good. It is interesting — I am sure every team that you talk to is anxious this time of year to start playing. And our guys are that way. We are still getting a lot done. The guys are improving as a group.”
WESTMINSTER AT BYU
When • Thursday, 7 p.m.
TV • BYUtv
Freshman center Kolby Lee has practiced this week after missing the Saint Martin’s game with a foot injury and is expected to play some against the Griffins, Rose said.
“It is really good for our group to add another piece and see how it fits,” Rose said. “We are excited to play tomorrow. To a man, the guys are ready to get going on the season.”
Rose said he would like to see the Cougars shoot better from the free-throw line — they were 21 of 31 from there — and sustain their quality of play for longer stretches.
“I hope we can execute better for longer stretches. I thought we were good in stretches, but I thought coming out of the half we were not very good,” he said. “So hopefully we can improve upon those things. I think that you can’t ever take anything for granted. I just want to see more consistency in our ability to sustain these really intense, urgent stretches for a longer period of time.”