BYU basketball coach Dave Rose and players talked about their Saturday matchup against in-state rival Utah. The Cougars will travel to the Huntsman Center to play Utah on Saturday at 8 p.m. MST. The game will be televised live on Pac-12 Network and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
On improved Utah team:
"This team is really good. You look at their offensive numbers and they're really impressive. They're outscoring their opponents by 25 points a game, shooting 55 percent from the field and 64 percent from two. Their defensive numbers have always been good and now I think they've got an offense that matches it."
“The fact that they’ve won 10 games in a row (at home) is tough enough. We’ve got to go in there and play well to try and break their confidence right now.”
On the rivalry:
“I think the rivalry is pretty much like it’s been since I’ve been the coach here. I’ve been here for 17 years and it’s kind of gone back and forth and I think every game is a memorable game.”
On last year's game vs. Utah:
“I remember that we were behind most of the time. They came in and took control of the game and we were trying to play from behind. The last few minutes of the game, we had some guys make some big plays and those were game changers.”
On things to improve on the road:
“I think sometimes coaches and players feel like you need to put a perfect game together, but I just feel like our effort has to be perfect. They’re going to have a great game plan and they have really good players. There are going to be possessions when they’re better than we are and that can’t get you down and that can’t send you sideways as far as your effort is concerned. Your effort has to be really consistent throughout the whole game and hopefully our guys are ready for it.
On rivalry and environment:
“We’re trying to treat it like any other game, but we’re excited to go up to the Huntsman and play. I enjoy being a part of the rivalry and we’re looking forward to it. They’re doing a good job and they have a great team this year and so we’re going to have to be ready to play.”
“We love playing in hostile environments and I’m sure there will be a really good crowd there tomorrow. I think our team responds well to that stuff.
“They don’t go away no matter how many points you’re up, so we’re going to have to put 40 minutes together and play the right way to beat them.”
On playing well on the road:
“I think just do what we do in the Marriott Center. I think we need to push the ball and try and get out in transition and have a really good defensive effort so we can get long rebounds. My mental approach is the same to every game and I’m going to come ready to fight right from the start.”
On what the coaches emphasized for tomorrow night:
“Just stop penetration. They’re shooting 64 percent from two, so we have to keep guys in front of us and play our best.”
On atmosphere and rivalry:
“We’re expecting them to hate us and yell at us, but we’re used to that anywhere we go because they don’t like you and you’re the opponent. We’re not going to worry about that and play our game and do the things we do.”
“I think this game especially is special for the fans. We really want to win this one, of course for us and our team, but for the fans because it means a lot to them.”
On playing a road game:
“We’re trying to be a great team and to be a great team we have to win on the road and at home and that’s what we’re striving for. I’m glad it’s on the road because it’ll be a good test for us early in the season and prepare us for conference.”