Saint Mary's-CA (16-6) at BYU (14-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 11 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (20,900) -- Provo, Utah. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Saint Mary's 13-1, BYU 9-1. Away Record: Saint Mary's 3-3, BYU 3-6. Neutral Record: Saint Mary's 0-2, BYU 2-2. Conference Record: Saint Mary's 6-3, BYU 6-4. Series Record: BYU leads, 8-6.
GAME NOTES: Two teams in the hunt in the West Coast Conference collide at the Marriott Center on Saturday evening, as the BYU Cougars play host to the Saint Mary's Gaels.
Dave Rose's Cougars are an impressive 9-1 at home this season and that includes an 88-78 win over Pacific on Thursday. The win ended a two-game losing streak for BYU and moved the team to 6-4 in WCC action, good for fourth place in the conference standings.
Randy Bennett's Gaels are in third place in the WCC at 6-3, just a half game behind second-place San Francisco. Saint Mary's missed out on an opportunity to keep pace to with the Dons due to a 61-43 setback at San Diego on Thursday. Saint Mary's is an impressive 13-1 at home, but a mere 3-5 outside of Moraga this season.
BYU holds an 8-6 series advantage over Saint Mary's. The two teams will meet again on Feb. 15.
The Gaels suffered through one of their worst offensive performances of the season, as they connected on a mere 25 percent of their shots (13-of-52) from the floor against San Diego, including an ugly 1-of-14 from behind the arc. Brad Waldow led the way in defeat, just missing a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds. James Walker III added nine points, but the rest of the roster could muster just 16 combined points in the loss.
Scoring has come much easier on the season as a whole for Saint Mary's. Despite the poor outing against the Toreros, the Gaels are still averaging a decent 74.8 ppg, doing so on an effective .462 shooting, that includes an impressive .406 from 3-point range. Waldow is the driving force in the frontcourt for Saint Mary's, shooting just under 60 percent and leading the team in both scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg). Scoring depth comes in the form of double-digit scorers Stephen Holt (13.5 ppg), Beau Levesque (10.7 ppg), Walker (10.5 ppg) and Kerry Carter (10.1 ppg).
Putting up gaudy numbers on the scoreboard is something BYU has done a regular basis this season. The Cougars rank second in the nation at 87.5 ppg. The team also enjoys a +5.7 rebounding margin and a +15 turnover margin. Leading the charge in the scoring column is All-American candidate Tyler Haws. The junior guard is lighting it up to the tune of 24.2 ppg (fourth nationally), showing the ability to score from all over the floor. Fellow guards Matt Carlino (14.0 ppg) and Kyle Collinsworth (13.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg). Both players are unselfish with over 100 assists each. Freshman forward Eric Mika (13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) adds depth up front.
Haws was at it again on Thursday night, moving into 10th place on the school's all-time scoring list with a 38-point outburst against Pacific. Haws finished 10-of-20 from the floor (four 3-pointers) and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line in the win. Mika poured in 20 points, while Collinsworth and Skyler Halford chipped in with 10 apiece.
If Haws gets off to another fast start, the Cougars should be able to hold off the Gaels, who aren't going to struggle like they did last time out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 79, Saint Mary's 70
02/01 11:50:46 ET