The first loss every season — it’s a big step in your season and in your team. So we’ll see how our guys respond and go from there. —BYU head coach Dave Rose
PROVO — The BYU men's basketball team (2-1) was hit with its first big punch of the season with last Saturday's 89-75 loss at home to UT Arlington. The team now moves on to host Niagara Tuesday night, hoping to learn from the loss and make necessary improvements.
According to BYU coach Dave Rose, the first loss of the season almost serves up a big lesson.
“The first loss every season — it’s a big step in your season and in your team,” Rose said right after Saturday's loss to the Mavericks. “So we’ll see how our guys respond and go from there.”
The Cougars had trouble dealing with the Maverick's overall experience and athleticism on Saturday and will work to show necessary improvements against a Niagara team that's off to a 5-2 start on the season.
“Maybe they’re not as long or as big as (UT Arlington), so we may be able to get to the basket a little bit better,” Rose said of the visiting Purple Eagles. “We’re going to have to jump on this thing on Monday and get a nice plan. Hopefully our guys will be ready for them.”
Part of the plan may be to depend more on the play of sophomore Dalton Nixon, who is coming off his best game in a Cougar uniform against UT Arlington. The recently returned LDS Church missionary posted career highs of 15 points and eight rebounds while adding one assist and one steal. Nixon hit 5 of 6 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line.
Other positives have been the proficiency of both TJ Haws and Zac Seljaas from 3-point range. Both are riding streaks of consecutive games with a 3-point field goal, dating back to their freshman seasons. Haws has hit a 3 in 19 straight games, the 10th-longest streak in BYU history. Seljaas had drained a trey in 13 straight games.
As for the Purple Eagles, the Cougars' preparations began in earnest on Monday.
“I know they went into St. Bonaventure and beat them, so they’ve got themselves a squad,” he noted. “They play probably a little bit faster than (UT Arlington.) We’ll see a lot of press and we’ll see a lot of the same things.”
BYU tips off against Niagara at the Marriott Center at 7 p.m. MST and the game will be broadcast live on BYUtv.