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Provo • BYU basketball coach Dave Rose says there is a laundry list of things his team must do right on Thursday night if it hopes to beat league-leading Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center.

At the top is rebounding.

Oh, and it would be nice if the Cougars, who are 16-7 overall and in third place in the West Coast Conference with a 7-3 league record, could make their easy shots.

They didn't do either last time they met the Gaels (18-2, 9-1) and the result was a 85-74 loss on New Year's Eve at McKeon Pavilion. Saint Mary's comes into the game having won four straight and 12 of 13 and is ranked No. 25 in the USA Today coaches poll.

BYU has won 16 straight home games dating to last year, and seven of nine since that meltdown in Moraga a month ago.

"I hope we will be better on both ends," Rose said. "I think that offensively we missed a lot of easy shots, what I would consider to be makeable shots that our team usually makes. I think that we played with good energy over there."

In the end, SMC's superior efficiency was the difference. The Gaels lead the nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.94) and field goal percentage (53.2 percent). It is a star-less team — Brad Waldow has graduated — that relies on balance and guard play to control games. Five Gaels average at least 10 points per game, led by sophomore guard Emmett Naar (13.9 ppg.) and junior forward Dane Pineau (11.1 ppg.).

"They have a real tendency to slow the game down and get you to stand, and hopefully we will be on attack on both ends," Rose said. "We had periods in that game where we kind of got stuck. You take the start of the second half and how we played in a four, five-minute stretch, we need a lot more stretches like that in the game where we can kind of get them on their heels and get us to be the real aggressive, attacking team."

Rebounding was even, at 35 apiece, last game but Rose said that's a statistic the Cougars have to dominate on Thursday to be competitive.

The Cougars will need to shoot better than the 41.7 percent they did in Moraga. That's where guard Chase Fischer comes in. He was 2 of 8 from 3-point range last time.

"Saint Mary's is tough physically, but it is really tough mentally because of how they play and how they can break you down, and the way they move the ball," Fischer said. "And they are really good at making you do what they want you to do. It seems simple, like, 'Hey, just don't do that.' But that's how they win games, and it is a very fun game. Every time I've played them, it is a fun, intense game."

BYU freshman Zac Seljaas was emerging last time, and not a factor. He probably won't be a factor Thursday night, although he's been cleared medically to play after sitting out the 88-77 win over Pepperdine on Saturday with a right shoulder contusion.

"I do believe we will get some minutes out of him this weekend," Rose said. "I don't know if it will be Thursday or Saturday [against Pacific], or both. But we are looking forward to it. … The last thing you want to do is get him in there and have him run into a screen or something and set him back for a couple of weeks. So we want to make sure that it is right when we make the decision."

Inside, the Cougars will have to deal with sophomore center Jock Landale, who averages 10 points and 4.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 64.6 percent, second-best in the WCC. He had 14 points last game, and Calvin Hermanson scored 21 on 8-of-12 shooting.

"Coaches have put a great game plan together and it is a little different," BYU forward Kyle Davis said. "There are some similarities to it from last time, but it is nice to have a game to look back on."

Twitter: @drewjay