COLORADO SPRINGS Clune Arena is a place where many league teams hit a skid mark, but BYU hopes to repeat the success of a year ago when the Cougars upset No. 20 Air Force at the Academy en route to the regular season Mountain West title.
This is where UNLV suffered its only league loss of the season. The Falcons are 9-1 in Clune this year.
The Cougars (15-5, 4-1) and Falcons (11-7, 3-2) tip off tonight at 7. The game will not be televised.
"Clune Arena has become a difficult place for opponents lately," admitted AFA coach Jeff Reynolds. "BYU has probably had the most success of any team and pulled off a win here a year ago."
The Falcons lost four starters from a team that spent a decent chunk of last year's early season ranked in the Top 25. The lone returning starter is shooting guard Tim Anderson, a 6-foot-3 senior who is averaging 15 points a game.
The Princeton offense, known for its deliberate pace, driving penetration and kickout passes, back-cuts and 3-point shooting, is again the attack of choice by new head coach Jeff Reynolds, and BYU's Dave Rose said the key for the Cougars is to play smart defense and not give any easy shots.
"You can't change up your defense and do something new," said Rose. "What you have to do is play hard every time down the floor and prevent them for getting easy shots; they have to be contested."
The Falcons are shooting .453 percent from the field while making .389 percent from beyond the arc both figures comparable to what the Cougars have done this season. The difference is in point production. Rose hopes his team can keep the shooting touch displayed in a convincing home win over New Mexico. If the Cougars get back to making a third of their offensive shots in Clune Arena, the Falcons will do to BYU what they did to the Rebels in a 65-53 win here.
The Cougars and Falcons have met 57 times with the Cougars leading the series 45-12. BYU ended a 30-game home win streak by the Falcons here a year ago, something that didn't go over well with the Cadets.The Cougars currently have a three-game win streak over the Falcons heading into tonight's game.