BYU basketball: Cougars set to tangle with San Diego's talented guards
SAN DIEGO — In its last two games, San Diego has experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat — though not in that order.
The Toreros narrowly lost at home to West Coast Conference leader, No. 6 Gonzaga, 65-63, last Saturday, then edged last-place Loyola Marymount Monday in overtime, 69-68, in Los Angeles.
Could another close game be on the horizon when BYU visits Jenny Craig Pavilion Thursday (8 p.m. MST, BYUtv) to face the Toreros?
"They're a tough team. They took Gonzaga down to the wire at their place," Cougar guard Matt Carlino said of San Diego. "We saw the end (of the LMU game). They're a tough team. Their will to win is high right now."
The Toreros are led by guards Chris Anderson and Johnny Dee. Anderson drove the length of the floor and scored a layup with two-tenths of a second remaining in OT to secure the one-point victory over LMU.
In that game, Anderson scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists.
Meanwhile, Dee, San Diego's leading scorer, suffered a sprained left ankle against LMU. He is able to walk, but will be a game time decision Thursday.
The Cougars are expecting Dee, who scored a game-high 21 points against the Zags, being on the floor. "We expect him to play," Carlino said. "I think he will."
"He's a tough guy," BYU coach Dave Rose said of Dee, USD's leading scorer. "We know he wants to play. If he can play, he will. We'll prepare for that."
Rose said San Diego's pair of guards, as well as the Toreros' style of play, can be tough to handle.
"This is a team that really pushes the ball hard up the floor and will score quick in transition," Rose said. "But if you can defend that, then you're going to have to guard for a long time. They run really good half-court sets. Anderson, at the end of the shot clock, is really hard to contain. He's quick, he's fast and can get past you. He has a real knack for finding guys. In the last couple of weeks, he's actually been finishing around the basket really well. Not only do they have good guards, but they have a front line that is big and physical. It's a really good defensive team and a hard team, a pretty balanced team, to guard."
Carlino said he knows Anderson "a little bit," adding that he was a teammate of Anderson's brother, Jerime, at UCLA.
"I go (to Southern California) in the summertime because my grandparents live there," Carlino said. "I play pickup over there. I'm pretty familiar with some of their team."
"Anderson is a very quick, athletic dude that can go up and down really fast," said BYU guard Tyler Haws. "We've got to control him on the offensive side. And, obviously, Dee is a great shooter. Those are guys that we definitely need to know where they're at all the time on the floor."
The key to beating San Diego?
"We need to play at our pace, play at the speed that makes us really good," Haws said. "San Diego, at times, has wanted to slow it up. If we play at our speed, we'll be fine."
Cougars on the air
BYU (18-6, 8-2) at San Diego (12-12, 5-4)
Jenny Craig Pavilion, San Diego
8 p.m. MST
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
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