BYU's mission vs. Santa Clara: Toe the (3-point) line

BYU men's basketball
2012-01-12T19:30:00Z 2013-11-06T21:45:15Z BYU's mission vs. Santa Clara: Toe the (3-point) lineJason Franchuk - Daily Herald Daily Herald
January 12, 2012 7:30 pm  • 

From the high-up observation area at the Marriott Center, it was pretty easy to see what BYU's coaches had their "scout" team doing.

Santa Clara, Saturday's opponent, loves to shoot 3-pointers.

It will be BYU's primary charge to keep a lot of open ones from occurring, and to then be in a defensive position to guard what's left for the Broncos.

"That will be our challenge; kind of run them off the three, and try to (make them) shoot contested twos," Rose said after BYU's practice Thursday, the team's first media availability since last Saturday's win against San Francisco. 

The 14-4 Cougars (3-1 in their first adventure of West Coast Conference play) haven't played since then, their longest break for the rest of the season.

Rose gave the team off Tuesday. His staff was on the road recruiting.

Now comes a visit by Santa Clara, a struggling 8-7 team that has one obvious desire on offense: To shoot the trey. The Broncos, losers of three in a row and 4-of-5, shoot 37 percent from the 3-point line but still make nine a game.

Standout Kevin Foster is fifth nationally, making a little more than three per game. He shoots 37 percent from behind the arc, averaging a team-best 17.5 points.

BYU has won its first two WCC home games (San Diego, San Francisco) by a combined 61 points.

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What should be a close game, however, is tonight's 9 p.m. Utah time tipoff between St. Mary's and Gonzaga on ESPN2. The game is on the Gaels' home floor, where SMC gave BYU a rude-awakening introduction to the league — 98-82.

Rose said if SMC plays like it did that night, even the nationally ranked Zags will have a tough time at McKeon Pavilion. It remains to be seen if any of the WCC's "Big Three" can win on the home floor of each other.

It sounds like Rose and his staff will watch some of tonight's showcase.

"With it being on a national stage, it's good for our league and it's good for us and we'll kind of watch, sitting back tonight, then jump right back into it tomorrow."

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Jason Franchuk can be reached at jfranchuk@heraldextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter, @harkthefranchuk

 

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