PROVO — When BYU opened West Coast Conference play in January, the Cougars owned an 8-7 record and had lost three consecutive games.
At the time, it appeared BYU might have trouble cracking the top four of the final WCC standings.
But the Cougars have turned things around. They find themselves in second place in the standings with three games remaining in the regular-season schedule.
BYU (18-10, 10-3) has won five consecutive games, including a road sweep of San Diego and Loyola Marymount last weekend.
Against both USD and LMU, BYU battled back from double-digit deficits.
“We knew we had to take one possession at a time. There was no point in going out and jacking shots and trying to do it on your own. That’s how you get buried when you’re down 14,” forward Yoeli Childs said about his team trailing by 14 points against the Toreros. “We did a good job of staying together. When they were on their run in the first half, we weren’t doing a great job of making the extra play and the extra effort. I think we changed that.”
BYU hosts third-place San Francisco (20-6, 8-4) Thursday.
“It’s always fun to travel, but it’s nice to be at home with our fans,” said guard Zac Seljaas, who was 4-for-4 from 3-point range against the Lions.
On Saturday, the Cougars visit No. 2-ranked Gonzaga (25-2, 12-0) in a showdown that will be televised on ESPN.
BYU concludes the regular season March 2 at home against San Diego. The WCC Tournament at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas tips off the following week.
The Cougars’ league losses were on the road against Saint Mary’s (88-66) and San Francisco (82-63) and at home against Gonzaga (93-63).
In non-conference play, they lost to a pair of teams currently ranked in the top 10 — at No. 6 Nevada (86-70) and at home against No. 9 Houston (76-62).
As of Tuesday, BYU checked in at No. 75 in college basketball’s NET rankings.19 comments on this story
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cougar guard TJ Haws earned WCC Player of the Week honors Monday after scoring a career-high 35 in leading BYU to a win over San Diego, and followed that effort up with 13 points in the victory over LMU.
For the week, Haws averaged 24 points, 7.5 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from 3-point range and 95 percent from the free-throw line.
GOING FOR NO. 200: BYU coach Dave Rose will be attempting to earn his 200th home victory in his 14 seasons at the helm on Thursday. Rose has a 199-26 mark at the Marriott Center.