Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
PROVO — After suffering back-to-back conference losses for the first time in a little more than four years, it's back to the drawing board for the BYU basketball team.
The Cougars (18-8, 8-4) have a midweek bye before hosting Portland next Saturday.
"This week's been a difficult stretch for us," said coach Dave Rose of his team's two-game losing streak. "Our guys have played hard, but we haven't played as well as we need to play to win. There are a lot of issues you deal with now in trying to keep your team together. Confidence will be one of the main issues. These guys need to realize that we're a good team, and they're good players, and we need to fix a few things and go out and get this turned around."
BYU fell at San Diego last Thursday, then squandered a 15-point lead and gave up 60 second-half points in a 99-87 loss at home to San Francisco Saturday.
"We'll get in here Monday and we fix the things we need to fix," said Cougar senior forward Brandon Davies. "None of us have given up. We have a choice. We can either back down and fold or we can fight our way through it. That's the type of guys we all are. We're all going to come in here on Monday and just make sure we're getting back on track, doing the little things that we need to do, especially defensively."
The Cougars allowed the Dons to drain 14 3-pointers, including 9-of-10 in the second half.
"Our issues are probably on both ends of the floor," said Rose. "But defensively is probably what we're going to have to address the most. We'll get ready for next week and go back to work."
Obviously, this isn't the way the Cougars wanted things to go this season. BYU was looking to compete for a West Coast Conference championship and make its seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
At this point, the Cougars are looking like an NIT team at best.
"There are definitely some things we wish could have gone differently, but you have to take it as it comes," Davies said. "(Saturday's loss) is hard to swallow. But we've got to use that and turn it around as fuel to get better."
While guard Tyler Haws has exceeded expectations this season, averaging 20 points a game, opposing teams have been hammering him defensively in WCC play.
Haws was clearly frustrated, evidenced by the technical foul that he was called for in the first half against San Francisco.
"We'll show him what teams are doing to try to counter what he's been doing to them," Rose said of Haws. "He's a great offensive talent. He could probably use a little bit of physical rest and some mental coaching with us this week as we get ready for Saturday. He's obviously the No. 1 target on the scouting reports for other teams to take away what he does well."
With five regular-season games remaining, Rose wants to see how his team reacts to the adversity it has faced recently.
"It's a long season, and you have to be able to deal with all the challenges of the season," Rose said. "Here's a challenge for our guys. We'll see how we respond."
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