PROVO — After dropping its season opener to Utah State at the Spectrum last Friday, BYU is looking forward to returning to the friendly confines of the Marriott Center.
The Cougars host BYU-Hawaii Tuesday (7 p.m., MT, BYUtv) in their home opener.
"It's always fun to play on the road at a place like the Spectrum," said guard Brock Zylstra. "But it's great to be back home, where we're comfortable. It's important to get our first win."
BYU led the Aggies by four points midway through the second half, then was doomed by a five-minute scoring drought and lost, 69-62, before a raucous sellout crowd in Logan.
"We had a great chance to win on Friday, but we didn't make the plays down the stretch," Zylstra said. "We got away from playing the way we should. They took us out of our game, which is a credit to them. We need to push the ball. We got out of sync. BYU is known for playing with an up-tempo style and we need to get back to that."
Coach Dave Rose agreed.
"We had a chance to actually do some things and we let it get away from us," he said. "The game was played at Utah State's pace. What we need to do is play more at our pace."
With several new players on the roster, the Cougars are trying to find out as much as they can about themselves.
"Every game you learn something new," said Zylstra. "We haven't found our identity yet, but that will come soon. We've got to get the ball inside and play inside-out rather than outside-in."
The Cougars turned the ball over 20 times against the Aggies, a problem they are addressing.
"We need to play on attack but we can't turn the ball over quite as much," Rose said. "What usually happens when you're trying to play and not turn the ball over, you slow down. What we have to do is fight through that. We don't want to turn the ball over, but we still need to play fast. That will be our challenge."
BYU-Hawaii, a Division II school playing its season opener tonight, also enjoys a fast-paced style.
"They'll be excited to play and they're very talented offensively," Rose said. "It's a really good scoring team. They've got guys at every position who can dribble, pass and shoot, which makes it really tough to guard."
BYU-Hawaii is ranked as high as No. 3 in the Division II preseason polls. Guard Jet Chang, a senior from Taiwan, is the preseason Division II player of the year. The Sporting News rated BYU-Hawaii No. 5 in the preseason and picked Chang as a preseason first team All-American and a Division II player of the year candidate.
"He's an amazing player that scores in all different ways," Zylstra said.
"I think Jet Chang is one of the best players in the country, as far as Division II is concerned," Rose said. "We'll have our hands full trying to get him stopped."
The Seasiders have a handful of players with Utah ties on their roster, including Bracken Funk (Lone Peak High), Christian Covey (Timpview), Brady Hurst (Davis) and B.J. Ford (Payson).
Guard Pablo Coro, a native of Chile, is a transfer from Weber State while guard Jake Dastrup is a transfer from Salt Lake Community College.
BYU-Hawaii coach Ken Wagner coached with Rose at Dixie State College for three years. The Cougars defeated the Seasiders in an exhibition game in Provo last season, 85-60.
Cougars on the air
BYU-Hawaii (0-0) at BYU (0-1)
Tuesday, 7 p.m. MT
The Marriott Center, Provo
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
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