Saint Mary's-CA (13-4) at BYU (14-4) (ET)
GAME NOTES: BYU head coach Dave Rose shoots for the 200th win of his career on Wednesday night, as his Cougars combat the Saint Mary's-CA Gaels in West Coast Conference action at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
Rose, who has spent his all eight seasons of his head coaching career at BYU, is trying to become just the second coach to have at least 200 victories while with the Cougars, the first being Stan Watts. The coach has his team off to a strong start in 2012-13 with a mark of 14-4 and more importantly, a perfect 4-0 beginning to league play, which has them in first place in the WCC entering play on Wednesday.
Since losing to Baylor back on Dec. 21 the Cougars, who enter this contest with a perfect 9-0 mark in their own building, have rattled off six consecutive victories, the most recent of those coming last Saturday versus Santa Clara in an 82-64 pounding on the road.
Meanwhile, the Gaels are again one of the elite teams in the WCC, having won two of their first three conference dates, with the lone loss coming against nationally-ranked Gonzaga on the road (83-78) last week. SMC bounced back by defeating San Francisco over the weekend, 78-72, giving the program five wins in the last six games overall.
In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, BYU holds an 8-4 edge over the Gaels, taking six of the eight meetings played in Provo. However, SMC has won two straight and three of the last four encounters overall, thanks to an 80-66 victory in the most recent battle last January.
After nearly taking out Gonzaga on the road, the Gaels figured to have a bit of a let-down, but to be threatened by San Francisco at home should not have been the case. Nevertheless, SMC needed 50.0 percent shooting from the floor and 24-of-27 at the free-throw line in order to escape with the six-point home win over the weekend in Moraga. Matthew Dellavedova responded with a team-best 19 points and accounted for half of their 12 assists, while Stephen Holt dropped in 16 points, Beau Levesque 15 off the bench and Mitchell Young 14 points for the program as it survived a mere 4-of-17 shooting behind the 3- point line. For the second straight game the Gaels connected on less than 30 percent of their long-distance attempts, something that happened only once through the first 16 games of the campaign. In the three league bouts thus far SMC, which is scoring a healthy 76.7 ppg, has made good on a mere 28.8 percent on the outside, with Dellavedova (16.7 ppg) and Holt (15.3 ppg) combining to make 11 of the team's 19 conversions from beyond the arc. Levesque, off the bench in all three WCC dates, checks in with 13.3 ppg.
For the fourth time under coach Rose, the Cougars have opened a conference slate at least 4-0, thanks to the victory against Santa Clara which came about only after BYU put together an 18-0 scoring run in the second half. The Cougars were paced by Tyler Haws once again as the guard posted a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor. Brock Zylstra added 15 points, Matt Carlino 13 and eight assists, while Brandon Davies also logged 13 points to go along with his eight rebounds, but at the same time the big man turned the ball over seven times. Anson Winder came off the bench to supply 10 points in just 14 minutes of action. Haws continues to be a scoring machine for the Cougars this season, now averaging 21.3 ppg overall as he shoots 42.2 percent behind the 3-point line and nearly 50 percent from the field overall. Davies is responsible for another 18.4 ppg and a team-best 7.7 rpg, which means the duo accounts for a huge chunk of the squad's 79.1 ppg as they outscore the competition by 12.0 ppg through 18 outings.
BYU is riding a 12-game home win streak entering play on Wednesday, but in addition to Gonzaga, the one team in the WCC that could put that run in serious jeopardy is the Gaels. However, as long as the Cougars make someone other than Dellavedova beat them they should be alright.
GAME NOTES: BYU head coach Dave Rose shoots for the 200th win of his career on
Wednesday night, as his Cougars combat the Saint Mary's-CA Gaels in West Coast
Conference action at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (22,700) -- Provo, Utah.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: SMC 10-0, BYU 9-0. Away Record: SMC 2-2, BYU
3-2. Neutral Record: SMC 1-2, BYU 2-2. Conference Record: SMC 2-1, BYU 4-0.
Series Record: BYU leads, 8-4.Game Date and Time
Wednesday, January 16, 11 p.m. (et)Predicted Outcome
BYU 81, Saint Mary's-CA 77