BYU doesn't lose two games in a row very often.
It didn't happen Tuesday, either, following the home defeat to Baylor last weekend. But the Cougars are still learning the urgency coach Dave Rose demands, which is especially critical in avoiding negative streaks.
"It's important that players understand, just as winning is contaigous I think losing can have the same effect," Rose said after his team defeated Buffalo, 93-78 shortly after the tough three-point loss to No. 6-ranked Baylor. "There's a real sense of urgency to get this thing turned back."
It didn't take long for Rose to express anger at the slow start. Brock Zylstra thought "it would be bad" if BYU succumbed to some self-loathing.
But Buffalo had its way with the spiritless Cougars early.
Zach Filzen, one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the country, got his team off to a 7-3 lead with a shot from behind the arc, followed by a long jump shot.
Rose immediately called timeout and lambasted senior co-captain Charles Abouo. It was vintage red-faced form, even by a coach who's not shy about a little in-game motivation. There were plenty of Twitter comments about Rose's blown fuse.
BYU trailed as much as 14-3, Rose able to joke about it afterward that by the first media timeout Buffalo was on pace to score 160 points.
Rose had those first two timeouts, his own and the media one at 15:35 — BYU trailing 17-8 — to do some screaming.
"Words of encouragement mainly. Things that happened, they were all scouting-report issues," Rose said. "All things we had covered (Monday and Tuesday). I understand guys making plays, okay — good, tough plays. But when we make mistakes in our scouting report on the first two or three possessions, then I think maybe they need to be corrected."
Abouo took the brunt of the constructive criticism, also drawing Rose's ire late in the second half.
Ask former players, and Rose is regarded as a master motivator.
Abouo followed up his second chewing out with a vicious one-handed dunk.
∫Poor choices: Buffalo was hit with a technical foul in the first half after coach Reggie Witherspoon, who had been riding the official several times despite his team's hot start, complained about not getting a foul call at the other end of the floor. Matt Carlino hit a pair of foul shots at 12:48 to tie the score at 22.
The Cougars had a second chance at free points and possession when Javon McCrea was called for a flagrant 1 foul on his second-half elbow of Zylstra. BYU's guard was cutting across the key on an in-bounds play. That gave BYU an 11-point lead with 13:02 left.
∫Now available: "Amazing" is now available on Blu-ray/DVD at any Utah Costco, Walmart, BestBuy; also, Deseret Book and Seagull Book. "Amazing" is the official BYU-produced documentary of the 2010-11 basketball season that included Jimmer-mania and a trip to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years.
∫Walking wounded: Damarcus Harrison accomplished pre-game warmups but still didn't feel stable enough on his ankle to play. It was the first game the highly touted freshman from South Carolina was unavailable after suffering the injury at Monday's practice.
Backup center Nate Austin hit the floor with 35 seconds left in major pain, but Rose was optimistic that he just hit the floor hard and didn't do any damage that would keep him out.
"I thought maybe it dislocated and then it came back in, but that doesn't seem to be the case," Rose said.
∫Tip-ins: Matt Carlino had 11 assists, the most since Jimmer Fredette had 10 against Southern in 2009. ...Noah Hartsock (16 points) has scored at least 10 points in every game this year. ....BYU will play host to UC-Santa Barbara on Thursday at 7 p.m.