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Jacob Wiegand,
Brigham Young Cougars guard Jahshire Hardnett (0) signals to teammates during the team's 80-58 victory against the Santa Clara Broncos at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.
He's such a huge part of our ability to defend and get stops, and then to keep that point guard under control — especially in transition. —BYU coach Dave Rose, on Jahshire Hardnett

PROVO — When considering how effective BYU starting guard Jahshire Hardnett was during BYU's 80-58 win over Santa Clara on Thursday, it's best to look at someone else's numbers rather than his.

The box score shows the 6-foot sophomore contributing just four points and three assists over 29 minutes played, but those stats tell just a part of his play. Hardnett drew the defensive assignment of Bronco's leading scorer K.J. Feagin, with Hardnett leading the effort to hold him to just 11 points scored on 5-15 shooting from the field.

"I'm impressed with Jahshire and how he handles this guy," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "He's such a huge part of our ability to defend and get stops, and then to keep that point guard under control — especially in transition."

Hardnett will be key in helping shut down San Francisco's perimeter attack Saturday when the Cougars tip off at 2 p.m. MST. BYU did that effectively against the Broncos after struggling to get out and defend well initially.

For Rose, he's been impressed with what he's seen from the Dons since his team traveled to San Francisco and came away with a 69-59 win back on Jan. 4.

“Their team really impresses me,” Rose said. “They’re really balanced. They have a lot of guys who can score and they can play a lot of guys. They can really run their stuff well and they spread you out.”

BYU (19-7, 8-5) vs San Francisco (14-12, 6-7)

Saturday, 2 p.m. MST Marriott Center

TV: BYUtv

Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

Balanced scoring has been the name of the game for San Fransisco's offense this season with four of its players averaging between 10.1 and 12.3 points per game, led by freshman Souley Boum. Almost half of the Dons' field-goal attempts are from behind the arc. The Cougars will be intent on getting out and defending well from the outset.

“We’ll have to do a good job of getting into the gaps and getting out to that shooter. It will be a challenge for us, and it’s a quick turnaround, too,” Rose said.

NIXON WITH BEST GAME OFF THE BENCH: Dalton Nixon is still working his way back from an injury which shelved him for about a month and a half this season, but the sophomore showed a bit of a breakthrough in Thursday's win. Subbing in primarily for starter Luke Worthington, the Orem high product played well on both ends en route to 12 points and five rebounds over 29 minutes played.

“I think Dalton really gave us good minutes off the bench,” Rose said. “(It) was probably the best game he’s had since he’s been back from being hurt and he still needs to get himself in real good playing shape — he’s good in spurts. But I thought tonight he was in the right place…he did a lot of things tonight that can bring confidence to our team.”

Rose also praised the play of Zac Seljaas, who contributed 19 minutes and five points off the bench.

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Twitter: @BrandonCGurney