PROVO — BYU suffered another infuriating loss at the hands of league-leading Saint Mary’s Thursday night, but the Cougars don’t have much time to dwell on it.
That’s because the only other team — besides the Gaels — that has beaten BYU in West Coast Conference play, Pacific, visits the Marriott Center Saturday (7 p.m., MST, BYUtv).
What was coach Dave Rose’s message to his team after the 75-62 setback at Saint Mary’s, snapping a four-game winning streak?
“Get ready for Pacific. It’s kind of what we do,” Rose said. “We’ve got to put this one behind us. No matter what the result was, you’ve got a team that beat us the last time we played them. Hopefully, we’ll be better Saturday.”
Pacific edged BYU, 67-66, on Jan. 6 at the Spanos Center. Guard Zac Seljaas made a potential game-winning shot but it came just after the buzzer and the Tigers celebrated the surprising, one-point victory over the Cougars.
“I honestly forgot that I even did that,” Seljaas said Thursday night about his final shot at Pacific. “There’s so much basketball. You’ve got to forget things.”
Cougars on the air
Pacific (10-12, 5-4)
at BYU (17-5, 6-3)
Saturday, 7 p.m. MST Marriott Center
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
BYU would like to forget the result in Moraga.
Saint Mary’s 6-foot-11 center Jock Landale poured in 32 points on 13-of-19 shooting from the field and grabbed 14 rebounds. He also recorded three blocks.
“We just couldn’t get Jock stopped,” Rose said. “Our guys battled. We need to make a few more plays.”
Guard Emmett Naar had 13 points and 12 assists. Naar made 6 of 8 shots from the floor and the Cougars struggled to stop his dribble penetration.
In the end, BYU (17-5, 6-3) missed too many shots in the paint. When asked what his team needs to do to knock off the Gaels, Rose replied, “Make open shots.”
BYU shot 43 percent against Saint Mary’s, including 7 of 17 from 3-point range. The Gaels shot 54 percent, including 9 of 21 from 3.
“The nine 3s were probably the difference," Rose said. “We had a lot of good looks, a lot of open shots. Against Saint Mary’s, we have to score through contact. It’s part of the way they guard you.”
TJ Haws led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Yoeli Childs scored 14 to go along with four blocks before fouling out and Elijah Bryant finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
“We played really well offensively," Haws said. "We got good looks. But our shots weren’t falling for us.”
The game was close most of the way, but Saint Mary’s pulled away late, something the Cougars have seen before.
“This is not new,” Rose said. “This is what they do.”
Meanwhile, Pacific (10-12, 5-4) is coming off a 69-67 loss at San Francisco Thursday night.
Against BYU a few weeks ago, Tiger forward Jahlil Tripp led the way, scoring 22 points.
“I watched him play in junior college. He’s a really good athlete and a really good finisher,” Rose said of Tripp after that loss. “We just needed to do a better job at cutting him off and make him jump up and make shots. He got so many shots at the rim where he was able to just kiss it right off the glass.”
The Cougars are looking to bounce back and avenge that loss to Pacific.
“We just have to move on. We’re focused on the next game,” Seljaas said. “We need to make sure we’re in the right place. We’ve got to focus on ourselves and be able to make sure we’re all together and going out with the same purpose and same effort.”
“We’ve got to keep fighting,” Haws said. “We’ve got another tough one on Saturday. We always do. We’ll have to bring it.”