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BYU basketball: Perimeter defense hurting Cougars

Published: Friday, Dec. 30 2011 9:58 p.m. MST

PROVO — If something happens just once, it can be written off as an isolated occurrence. Twice can be written off as a coincidence, but three times — that's the making of a trend.

It's a trend that hasn't yielded good results for BYU, contributing heavily in its last three losses while providing a blueprint on how to beat Dave Rose's team.

The best way to beat BYU is to beat them from the perimeter.

The Cougars' last three losses have brought forth eerily similar stats from 3-point range. Wisconsin went 13 of 24 behind the arc, Baylor 13 of 25, with St. Mary's, last night, converting on 12 of 25.

So why is it happening? Has BYU just been catching teams on hot nights? Probably, but again, three times is the beginning of a trend.

According to Rose, the problem has a lot to do with lack of proper defensive rotation with his perimeter players. Since the season started, he's had to make do with a lot of mixing and matching due to inexperience, injuries, and to implement his very promising freshman point guard into the rotation, Matt Carlino.

While all of this has worked to benefit the team on the offensive end, they still have a lot to work out on the other end.

"We simply have too many guys getting out of position on defense," said Rose. "We have a couple of good possessions and then have a breakdown. That causes us some frustration. … We have to develop more confidence in our defensive system."

Developing that confidence has been difficult given BYU's increasingly compacted schedule, leaving limited practice time for his young perimeter players. It's something that they'll continue to work through during games starting this afternoon against San Diego.

TAMING THE TOREROS: Without much time to lick their wounds from the lopsided 98-82 loss to St. Mary's, the Cougars will welcome San Diego to the Marriott Center for their first home West Coast Conference game. The Toreros will come in with a 5-7 record and three straight losses.

One of those losses came to UC Santa Barbara, which was a team that BYU had little trouble with, defeating the Gauchos at home, 89-75. San Diego gave UCSB a good effort, but ultimately lost at home, 65-61.

EXECUTION OVER ATHLETICISM: Without much prep time following the St. Mary's loss, Rose pointed out to the media that the West Coast Conference provides a certain type of style that his team will have to adjust to. The eight teams within the conference don't necessarily rely on great athletes, compared with the rest of the country, but put a premium on execution, and in particular perimeter execution.

"It's a style that we'll work to adjust to, taking on a good San Diego team this Saturday," said Rose.

Cougars on the air

BYU (11-4) vs. San Diego (5-7)

Today, 4 p.m. MT

Marriott Center, Provo

TV: BYUtv Radio: KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM

email: bgurney@desnews.com

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