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BYU notebook: Cougars wary of resurgent Dons in rematch

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 14 2012 8:41 p.m. MST

PROVO — The last time BYU played San Francisco, back on Jan. 7 at the Marriott Center, the Cougars demolished the Dons, 81-56.

But as BYU prepares to invade War Memorial Gym on Thursday (8 p.m. MST, ESPNU), San Francisco is on a bit of a roll.

Coach Dave Rose said the Dons are "a completely different team than what we saw when we played them here, as far as their confidence level and their execution offensively. They're really comfortable with how they're playing. They remind me a lot of how they were playing last year at the end of the season."

The Dons (17-10, 7-6 West Coast Conference) have won seven of their last nine games.

"We look forward to quite a test," Rose said.

San Francisco enjoys balanced scoring, as starters Angelo Caloiaro (14.7 points per game), Perris Blackwell (12.4 ppg), Rashad Green (11.6 ppg) and Michael Williams (11 ppg) all average double figures.

"They can really score the ball from a lot of different spots," said Rose, who added that preparing for this team reminds him of preparing for Air Force, although the Dons' style is not like the Falcons. "Defensively, we're going to have to make some real adjustments and still be able to play on attack. They really penetrate the ball well and kick it for open shots. All five guys on the floor can shoot."

SLUMP OVER: Prior to knocking down 12 3-pointers in last Saturday's 86-48 rout of Pepperdine, the Cougars had made just 17-of-101 3-pointers in their previous six contests.

"It was good to see the ball break the bubble on the basket," said junior guard Brock Zylstra. "It was good to see everybody get into the action and hitting 3s. It's was good to see that slump that everybody's been talking about go away from us."

Zylstra was sidelined for the Pepperdine game due to an ankle injury suffered at Portland. He's planning on suiting up in San Francisco.

"It's not 100 percent, but it's good enough to play," he said of his ankle. "I feel good. I've practiced the last couple of days, so I'm ready to go."

While Zylstra has made just 2 of his last 21 attempts from beyond the arc, he went 8-of-8, including 6-of-6 from 3-point territory, last month against the Dons.

TRACKING HARRISON: Freshman Damarcus Harrison has struggled to find his role with the Cougars, but Rose likes what he's seen from the 6-foot-5 guard lately. Harrison scored six points in 20 minutes of action against Pepperdine.

"In practice, he's really playing a lot harder. His competitiveness is way better," Rose said. "He's learned a lot in this process. The minutes he played the other night were really important for us and really important for him."

Redshirt freshman guard Anson Winder has helped Harrison make the transition from high school to college.

"It's kind of hard at first. He's handled it really well," Winder said. "He's getting better every day … He asks me questions and how things are handled. I tell him the truth. It's not easy, especially being a freshman. It's hard. But he's handled it better than I have."

CAREER WINS: Senior Charles Abouo is closing in on Jimmer Fredette for a school record.

Fredette is the all-time leader in career wins with 112. Right behind him, at No. 2, is Abouo, who has played in 108 victories. This season, Abouo has passed Jackson Emery (106) and Jonathan Tavernari (103).

Email: jeffc@desnews.com

Cougars on the air

BYU (21-6, 9-3 WCC) at U. of San Francisco (17-10, 7-6)

Thursday, 8 p.m. MT

War Memorial Gym, San Francisco

TV: ESPNU

Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

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