Eye On The Y is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter covering BYU athletics. Subscribe here.
Provo • Which arena in the West Coast Conference not named the Marriott Center is BYU basketball coach Dave Rose’s favorite?
Hint: It’s not Fireside Fieldhouse, home of the Pepperdine Waves, or McKeon Pavilion, the place where Saint Mary’s rarely loses, especially to BYU.
“Well, it is all based on one thing,” Rose said. “You can figure out my favorite gym. It’s the one we win the most in. The Marriott Center is my favorite gym, obviously, because we win the most in there. But you can go right down the road and try to figure out the gyms I like the most and the gyms I don’t like.”
Pepperdine hosts BYU on Thursday night at Firestone, which was Rose’s personal House of Horrors until last year when the Cougars snapped a four-game losing skid on the cliffs above Malibu with a 75-70 overtime win.
It’s not just the losses that make Rose unhappy in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Firestone’s locker rooms for visitors leave a lot to be desired as well.
“The hotels all look the same, the food tastes the same. The buses smell the same. The same jet fuel [smell] is there. It is all the same. There is only one thing that changes. That’s if you win or lose,” Rose said of the cities the Cougars visit in the WCC.
Stories from the past week
• The Cougars ran past Portland 79-56 last Thursday, but it wasn’t as easy as the final score makes it appear. TRIB
• Unity was the word of the week as the BYU basketball team circled the wagons after word leaked that star guard Jahshire Hardnett was unhappy with his role. TRIB
• Thanks to a huge 3-pointer by TJ Haws with less than two minutes remaining, BYU was able to hold off Santa Clara on Saturday. TRIB
• Sure, the Cougars looked good at home against a couple subpar WCC teams, Portland and Santa Clara. Can BYU win consistently on the road? This week will tell the tale. TRIB
• Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws are carrying the Cougars offensively. It is probably time for a third scoring option to step up. Nick Emery, anyone? TRIB
• BYU sophomore guard Rylan Bergersen attended a basketball game three days after he was born. Why? His father, Roberto, was a star guard for Boise State, and later played professionally throughout Europe. TRIB
• BYU women’s basketball star Shaylee Gonzales was so good growing up that coach Jeff Judkins offered her a scholarship before she reached high school. TRIB
• The Tribune’s Christopher Kamrani spelled out all the ways in which former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill has evolved into a singular weapon for the New Orleans Saints as they continue their quest for another trip to the Super Bowl. TRIB
• It appears that new Utah AD Mark Harlan wants to play BYU in football. He and BYU’s Tom Holmoe have already reached an agreement to extend the series to 2024. TRIB
Stories from elsewhere
* Here’s a recap of the BYU football season from the Deseret News. Dnews
• Darnell Dickson of the Provo Daily Herald gave BYU props for having the top all-around athletics program in the state of Utah. HERALD
BYU plays at Pepperdine on Thursday night having lost four of its last five meetings with the Waves in Firestone Fieldhouse, which sort of resembles Brighton High’s gym in color and size. Here’s coach Dave Rose on the struggles in Malibu:
“Well we don’t shoot the ball very well in there. That’s one consistent thing, and I hope that things can change. Last year we got a big win in there, so this group of guys should have confidence to go in there and continue winning. But it is a grind for us, and hopefully guys will be on top of things. I think the confidence from this weekend should help, I hope.”
• BYU’s women’s basketball team is a perfect 6-0 in WCC play, including four road wins, but has a tough test Thursday night against No. 13-ranked Gonzaga, which is 5-0 in league play, 16-1 overall. The Zags’ only loss was to Notre Dame, another nationally ranked program.
“Well, you have to go through Gonzaga,” coach Jeff Judkins said of the battle of league leaders. “Just like in the NFL, you gotta go through the New England Patriots. They have ran through our league so far. It is going to be a great matchup.”
• BYU football coach Kalani Sitake is looking for a new offensive line coach after one-year OL coach Ryan Pugh left to become the offensive coordinator at Troy in his home state of Alabama. Candidates quickly emerged, including GA Dallas Reynolds, a seven-year NFL veteran.
• Having swept both No. 7 Ohio State and No. 14 Ball State last week, BYU’s No. 4-ranked men’s volleyball team takes its perfect record on the road for a showdown Friday at Penn State and Saturday at Saint Francis.
Sophomore opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez is the AVCA National Player of the Week and MPSF Offensive Player of the Week. Freshman outside hitter Davide Gardini is the Off the Block National Freshman of the Week after recording 13 kills vs. Ohio State.
• BYU’s gymnastics team earned its highest season-opening meet score in program history with a 196.475 against Utah last week and vaulted to No. 6 in the national rankings. The Cougars travel to Logan to take on Utah State on Friday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.