ANAHEIM, Calif. — Even though the Cougars play four more games in the next two weeks, with two of them on the road, they feel like the upcoming part of their schedule will be a little re-energizing.
Mainly, with finals over and no classes for three weeks, and only holiday time as a distraction, the Cougars feel like they can finally regroup. They have one more game left on Tuesday, at Weber State, in an eight-game span away from the Marriott Center before returning home for the first time in a month to host UTEP on Thursday.
"We've figured out ways to win but we really haven't come together as a cohesive group," BYU coach Dave Rose said.
What Rose really hopes for is that forwards Noah Hartsock and Chris Collinsworth will get healthy and that guard Jackson Emery can rest his aching legs.
"We need to get everybody healthy. ... We've had a lot of adversity and hopefully we can get everyone back," Rose said.
Hartsock, who suffered a concussion last weekend against Arizona, practiced on Friday and started Saturday against UCLA. However, he played only 11 minutes, took only one shot and grabbed only two rebounds.
"As the game progressed he was just kind of a step slow," Rose said.
But getting Hartsock back into a game probably helped his recovery, Rose said.
"We'll see how he feels on Monday. What we need to do is get him back and get him going," he said.
Collinsworth, who scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds in 20 minutes, saw his first action on Saturday in three weeks after suffering a severe ankle sprain in BYU's third game of the season against Mississippi Valley State.
"He played more than I thought he would tonight, so hopefully he's feeling good tomorrow," Rose said.
STILL ZONING IN: The Cougars once again switched to a zone defense in the first half Saturday when UCLA started dominating with its strong inside play, which had the Cougars in early foul trouble.
"We were having a hard time guarding them without fouling them. I thought we were going to foul our whole team out if we stayed in a man," Rose said.
The zone did slow UCLA down late in the first half. It also helped to speed up the Bruins in the second half when the Cougars needed some quick shots and turnovers to get back in the game.
But overall the Cougars struggled to defend the boards in the zone and to keep UCLA's huge freshman center, Joshua Smith (15 points and five offensive rebounds), away from the basket.
"They are a very patient team. They know exactly what they want offensively, and tonight they shot the ball very well," Rose said.
SEVERAL SEASON LOWS: Against UCLA, the Cougars struggled in many areas that had been strengths.
The Cougars surrendered 43 points in the first half against the Bruins, the most points BYU has given up in a half all year.
BYU, with Emery and Fredette leading the way, has been creating lots of turnovers this season, but the Cougars only managed two steals — a season-low — on Saturday.
Individually, Fredette's seven turnovers were a high for the season.
GAME NOTES: The Cougars had only 13 bench points. ... Attendance at the Honda Center was 12,499. More than a third of the crowd appeared to be BYU fans.