BYU (17-9) at Pacific (13-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 13, 11 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Spanos Center (6,150) -- Stockton, California. Television: ROOT, CSCA. Home Record: BYU 12-1, Pacific 6-3. Away Record: BYU 3-7, Pacific 4-6. Neutral Record: BYU 2-1, Pacific 3-1. Conference Record: BYU 9-4, Pacific 4-8. Series Record: BYU leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: The BYU Cougars target their fifth win in a row as they invade the Spanos Center for a West Coast Conference battle against the Pacific Tigers.
BYU began a four-game homestand on Jan. 30 with an 88-78 win over Pacific, then continued to protect its home court as it downed Saint Mary's-CA (84-71), Santa Clara (89-76) and San Francisco (68-63). The Cougars' recent surge has improved their overall standing to 17-9, but they are still just 3-7 in true road tests. Coach Dave Rose's team is in sole possession of second place in the WCC race with a 9-4 ledger, which is 2.5 games behind the first place Gonzaga Bulldogs. BYU's uptempo style of play has propelled it to an average of 86.7 ppg, which ranks third nationally. The Cougars are also fifth among Division I schools in rebounds per game (42.3) and 13th in assists per game (16.4).
The Tigers have alternated losses with wins over the span of their last six games to arrive at a 13-10 overall record, which includes a 4-8 WCC standing. Pacific shot an even 50 percent from the field including an 11-of-26 clip from 3-point range on Saturday to defeat Loyola Marymount, 82-72, in Los Angeles. Coach Ron Verlin's squad has improved offensively to rank second in the WCC in league games with an average of 75.2 ppg, however it also owns the second worst scoring defense mark in league play at 78.2 ppg.
This will be the second meeting this season and eighth in history between BYU and the Tigers on the hardwood. The Cougars downed Pacific, 88-78, at home on Jan. 30 to take a 4-3 lead in the all-time series.
Just a few years ago, the Cougars had one of the top players in the country leading the way in Jimmer Fredette, who finished his career with a program record 2,599 points. Fredette's record may be in jeopardy if Tyler Haws continues to thrive in Rose's offensive system. Haws has scored in double- figures in every game this season and ranks eighth in BYU's record books with 1,765 career points. The junior guard has averaged 31.3 ppg over his last six and ranks third nationally on the campaign in points per game (24.5). The opposition cannot focus on Haws with sixth man Matt Carlino (13.3 ppg) and sophomore swingman Kyle Collinsworth (14.3 ppg, eight rpg, 4.9 apg) rounding out the elite backcourt. Freshman forward Erik Mika gives the Cougars a decent low post presence on both ends of the court and junior big man Nate Austin pulls down a team-high 8.4 rpg.
Pacific is pacing the WCC in free-throw percentage (.774) and it showed in its win over LMU. The Tigers drained 21-of-26 attempts at the charity stripe and limited the Lions to 45.5 percent shooting overall. T.J. Wallace scored a game-high 22 points, shooting 6-of-8 behind the 3-point line, while Sama Taku contributed 14 points. Trevin Harris and Andrew Bock added 12 points apiece in the contest. Verlin uses his bench more than most coaches as nine different Tigers are averaging at least 10 minutes per tilt through 23 games. Bock is averaging a team-high 12.3 ppg with Taku (11.4 ppg) and Gill (11.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) not far behind.
Pacific had no answer for Haws when it visited Provo in late January. Haws erupted for 38 points and BYU enjoyed a 35-24 edge on the glass. The homecourt advantage should help the Tigers compete with a visibly more talented opponent, but the Cougars might have too much versatility to defend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 81, Pacific 76
02/13 10:26:45 ET