Young Kwak, AP
PROVO — The last time BYU faced San Francisco, the result wasn’t pretty for the Cougars.
In fact, it was a nightmare.
In that game last February in Provo, the Dons rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit to shock BYU, 99-87. USF scored 60 second-half points, shot 72 percent from the floor in the second half, and knocked down 9 of 10 shots from 3-point territory over the final 20 minutes. The Dons finished the night with a whopping 14 3-pointers.
As the Cougars get ready to visit San Francisco Thursday (7 p.m., MST, ESPNU), they are preparing in earnest for the Dons’ 3-point shooting ability.
It’s something coach Dave Rose has discussed with his players at length.
“Yeah, they hit 14 3’s in that game, and a lot of them were against our zone and a lot of them were off man-to-man,” Rose said. “It’s basically the same guys. They can all really shoot it. Hopefully our guys will be ready for what’s going to happen. Last year (in San Francisco), in the first 8-10 minutes of the game they hit six or seven 3’s. We’re going to have to guard that 3-point line.”
Guard Matt Carlino hasn’t forgotten last year’s game at the Marriott Center.
“I remember they didn’t miss at all toward the end of the game. It was crazy. (USF's) De’End Parker looked like LeBron James the whole game,” he said. “We can’t have anything like that happen. We can’t have guys look like All-Stars against us. We can’t have a team hit that many 3’s against us.”
Parker and guard Cody Doolin are no longer on the team (Doolin left the team after an altercation with a teammate in November). But Chris Adams, Avry Holmes and Cole Dickerson are solid shooters from long distance. Adams has hit 29 3’s, while Holmes and Dickerson have drilled 28 and 23 apiece, respectively.
“They’re talented everywhere. They have great shooters,” said guard Skyler Halford. “We’re hoping to just keep them off that 3-point line and prevent them from driving and penetrating, because once they get in there, they kick, kick, kick, and they knock down shots. So we’re focusing big time on our defensive preparation so we’re ready for it.”
MIKA’S STATUS: BYU freshman forward Eric Mika has missed the last two games with a hip injury.
Rose said if all goes well, Mika should play Thursday at San Francisco.
“Eric’s feeling better. He practiced a little bit (Monday) and today he was in full time," the coach explained. "Unless he has a setback tonight, we anticipate him having a good practice Wednesday and playing on Thursday.”
RIDING A WINNING STREAK: BYU (11-7, 3-2) has won three consecutive games, although all three victories came at home.
While Halford said his team is confident these days, they can’t become complacent.
“When you’re winning, it definitely helps you feel better. But you can’t feel too good about yourself, you know? You’ve got to focus on every single game and you can’t too think too much about how many you’ve won. Sometimes you feel too good about yourself and you maybe get lazy in some areas. We’re just trying to stay on top of our game in all areas.”
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