Can BYU secure a Saturday win at Santa Clara?

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — On the past two Saturdays, BYU had a chance to win West Coast Conference games on its final possession.

Both times, the Cougars came up short.

Two weeks ago, Zac Seljaas’ potential game-winning 3-point attempt against Saint Mary’s missed the mark at the buzzer and BYU ended up falling in overtime.

A week ago, at Pacific, Seljaas’ shot at the buzzer came a little too late in a one-point setback.

Will the Cougars’ game Saturday (8 p.m., MST, BYUtv) at the Leavey Center against Santa Clara come down to the end again? And if it does, can they pull out a win?

BYU (14-4, 3-2) lost here to the Broncos last year, 76-68. It marked the Cougars’ first loss to Santa Clara since joining the conference in 2011-12 and snapped the Broncos’ 17-game losing streak to BYU. The Cougars hadn’t lost to Santa Clara since 1972.

Guard TJ Haws said there’s a recipe for success when it comes to playing on the road.

“I really want us to start off strong in those games. In league play, if you give any team early confidence, any team can play with any team in this league,” he said. “I’m hoping that right from the get-go, we’re ready to go and we’re locked in on the defensive end and aggressive on the offensive end.”

Playing in the smaller gyms of the WCC is definitely different from playing in the giant Marriott Center. Haws added that it requires having the right attitude.

“It’s all about our mindset. It’s super-fun playing at the Marriott Center. Going on the road, the whole team has to have the right mentality and the right mindset,” Haws said. “Whether we’re playing in front of a few hundred people or thousands and thousands of people, our mindset has to be the exact same going into every game. It is different but hopefully our mindset stays the same.”

“Hopefully, we can be really good in two halves on Saturday,” coach Dave Rose said after his team’s 83-63 victory over Pepperdine Thursday night at the Marriott Center.

Despite last week’s disappointing loss at Pacific, forward Yoeli Childs is confident about what his team can accomplish this season.

“It’s early in the conference. This is a team I believe in, a team that gets better every game. It’s a team that takes things from losses and takes things from wins and learns and develops,” Childs said. “At the end of the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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