Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
BYU's Josh Sharp, right, reaches for an offensive rebound as BYU and Montana play Wednesday, Nov., 28, 2012. BYU won 85-60.

Cougars and Cyclones on the air

BYU (5-2) at Iowa State (4-2)

Saturday, noon MST

Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa


Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

A new challenge awaits the BYU basketball team Saturday.

Having played four home games and three neutral-site contests this season, the Cougars now face their first true road test.

BYU visits Big 12 country for a showdown against Iowa State on Saturday (noon MST, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

"We know we need to get some good wins outside of the Marriott Center," said sophomore Josh Sharp, who is coming off a career-high 13-point performance against Montana. "It's a big game and this is a big week for us. We have to play well outside of the Marriott Center to be the team we want to be."

While the Cougars (5-2) have won three straight games, including last Wednesday's 85-60 victory over the Grizzlies at EnergySolutions Arena, the Cyclones (4-2) are coming off a pair of losses in last weekend's Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas. Iowa State fell to nationally ranked Cincinnati and UNLV.

At home, though, the Cyclones are riding an 11-game winning streak.

"We're ready to go," said coach Dave Rose. "It's going to be a real challenge. They just got beat twice over the weekend by really good teams. It will be a battle."

When the Cougars traveled to Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Barclays Center in mid-November, they dropped games to Florida State and Notre Dame.

Rose said his team has established more of an identity, and has improved, since then.

"I think our guys are starting to feel a lot more comfortable out there," Rose said. "It's interesting, you try to find the core of your team and what that's going to be. I think we're moving more towards that until we find more roles deeper down the roster. It's all a process. By January, we've got to figure it out."

Sophomore guard Tyler Haws said the Cougars are tougher and more aggressive than they were a couple weeks ago.

Against Montana, Brandon Davies recorded a double-double, recording 21 points and 10 rebounds to go along with six assists, four steals and two blocked shots. Just as impressively, Davies didn't commit a foul.

When the Cougars played at the Barclays Center, Davies struggled with foul trouble in both games.

"He makes everyone better on both ends of the floor," Sharp said of Davies. "When he's able to stay on the floor, we're at our best."

While Haws' streak of six consecutive games scoring at least 20 points came to an end against Montana, he still finished with 18 points.

Other Cougars contributed to the victory, including Craig Cusick, Brock Zylstra and Agustin Ambrosino, who each knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. Matt Carlino, who entered that game having made only 1-of-17 shots from 3-point territory, buried his only 3-point attempt and finished with six points. As a team, BYU hit 9-of-21 shots from behind the arc.

Iowa State's leading scorer and rebounder is former Utah forward Will Clyburn, who averages 14.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. As a Ute, Clyburn averaged 20.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in two games against the Cougars, and he poured in 23 points against BYU in a game in Salt Lake City.

Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg, a former All-American at Iowa State, led his team to a 23-11 record, including a win over Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament, last season.

Under Hoiberg, the Cyclones are prolific 3-point shooters. They have set single-season records for 3-point field goals made in each of the last two seasons. This year, Iowa State has connected on an average of 9.3 3-pointers per game, which is No. 3 in the country.

Meanwhile, the Cyclones rank No. 5 in the nation in rebound margin, outrebounding opponents by 14 boards per game.