Provo • As he was wrapping up his opening statement to the media following BYU's 96-79 win over Santa Clara last Saturday night, basketball coach Dave Rose said he was looking forward to Thursday's game at the University of San Diego.
Let's presume the coach was talking about the weather, because no coach in his right mind would want to face the Toreros (12-12, 5-4) right now.
Just two nights after giving No. 6 Gonzaga all it wanted in a 65-63 loss in front of 4,759 fans at Jenny Craig Pavilion, San Diego snapped its four-game losing skid with a buzzer-beater at Loyola Marymount on Monday night.
Point guard Chris Anderson caught an outlet pass from Chris Manresa after LMU's Anthony Ireland missed a free throw, went coast-to-coast in about five seconds, and made a reverse layup to give the Toreros a 69-68 win.
The Cougars (18-6, 8-2) will be facing a hot, confident team.
San Diego showed it is a dangerous by playing well in spurts in a 74-57 loss at BYU on Jan. 19 and proved it might be the .500 team in the country by almost upsetting a Zags team that walloped BYU 83-63 less than two weeks ago in Spokane.
Sophomore Anson Winder got his first start of the season, at the shooting guard spot, as Rose used a smaller, quicker lineup to offset Santa Clara's lethal-from-the-outside attack. With the Toreros also strong on the guard line, it wouldn't be a surprise if Rose goes with the same lineup again Thursday.
"We will take a look at San Diego, and we will figure it out," Rose said Saturday night. "I think our guys are really dialed in to nine guys that could probably start if we wanted them to. Now what we need to do is we just gotta figure out what works the best for our group each night."
BYU point guard Matt Carlino is the West Coast Conference Player of the Week after averaging 20 points, five assists and 2.5 steals while shooting .464 from the field and .444 from 3-point range in the wins over Pepperdine and Santa Clara. ... ESPN's Joe Lunardi had BYU among the "First Four Out" in his NCAA Tournament bracket projections released Tuesday.
BYU at San Diego
O Thursday, 8 p.m. MT
TV • BYUtv