BYU basketball: Cougars looking for first WCC road win at Loyola Marymount
Loyola Marymount Athletic Depart
LOS ANGELES — BYU failed in its first foray into West Coast Conference play, falling at Saint Mary's, 98-82, last Thursday.
The Cougars bounced back with a lopsided 36-point win at home over San Diego two days later.
Now, they're looking for their first WCC road victory Thursday (7 p.m., MT, BYUtv) when they visit Loyola Marymount.
"We need to go out on the road and do something we didn't do last Thursday — come out with a win," said senior Charles Abouo.
The memory of that humiliating setback to the Gaels lingers, he added.
"We definitely got a lot better and we worked on things we didn't do as well (against San Diego)," Abouo said. "But that feeling's not really out of our system. It's something you want to avoid and it's something that can motivate you moving forward as you go into other teams' home courts."
In its first year in a new conference, BYU (12-4, 1-1) is getting acclimated to new venues, including Loyola Marymount's Gersten Pavilion, which holds 4,156 seats.
"It will be another interesting trip for these guys as far as the newness of everything," said coach Dave Rose.
A sellout crowd of 3,500 showed up at Saint Mary's. Fans — of both teams — were spirited.
"Our first game was a lot of fun as far as the atmosphere goes," Abouo said. "It's a smaller gym, but you didn't really notice because there were a lot of fans in there. It was a great environment for college basketball, which is what you want."
Junior forward Brandon Davies is coming off a stellar week in which he poured in a career-high 28 points at Saint Mary's, then scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds against San Diego.
For his efforts, Davies earned WCC player-of-the-week honors.
"He'll get some real resistance this week," Rose said, referring to tonight's game and Saturday's contest at home against San Francisco. "Anytime you have a week like that, you're going to be really scouted highly and the game plan is going to revolve around making it really difficult on you. We'll see how he handles it."
"Brandon's been playing really well," Abouo said. "He's definitely been huge for us, but it's something that everyone on this team and the coaching staff knows that he's capable of doing. It's great to see him playing that way. He's had about four games where he's been playing with that type of production. We're going to keep going to him. He's our biggest impact (inside) with him and Noah (Hartsock). We play through our bigs, so we're going to get those guys the ball."
The Cougars face a Loyola Marymount (8-6, 1-0) squad that is coming off a dramatic 77-76 overtime win at San Francisco as the Lions' Anthony Ireland scored the game-winning driving layup with 1.6 seconds remaining.
Rose said Loyola Marymount has been a tough team to prepare for because it has had a few key players miss games throughout the season.
"When you look at their stats overall and individual stats, it's hard to get a read," Rose said. "They've had a lot of guys that have had really big games. It looks like they'll get them all back when we play them. We're preparing for each one of them individually. What they do really well inherently causes us problems. Offensively what they do, we're going to have to execute the game plan defensively."
Abouo is expecting a tough battle against the Lions.
"They have some really good players. They have two big wins this year, over UCLA and Saint Louis," he said. "They're a very capable opponent. It's going to be a hard place to come away with a win, but we feel like we're prepared. We're going to put up a lot of effort and hopefully come away with a win."
NOTES: Forward Stephen Rogers, who has been out since mid-December after undergoing knee surgery, could play tonight for the first time since the game at Utah on Dec. 10. It will likely be a game-time decision … Loyola Marymount handed Rose his first loss, in his first game — at home — as BYU's head coach in November 2005 … The Cougars won the last matchup between the two teams, 91-62, in 2008.
COUGARS ON THE AIR
BYU (12-4, 1-1)
at Loyola Marymount (8-6, 1-0)
Tonight, 7 p.m., MT
Gersten Pavilion, Los Angeles
TV: BYUtv Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
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