BYU has another chance to bounce back — this time against a ‘hungry’ Pacific team
While the Cougars saw their three-game winning streak snapped Thursday, Pacific is winless in West Coast Conference play.
In the wake of its 77-76 loss at Santa Clara Thursday night, BYU didn’t hang out for long in the locker room at the Leavey Center.
The disappointed Cougars were eager to move on.
Coach Mark Pope and his team visit Pacific Saturday (7:30 p.m. MST, ESPNU) at the Spanos Center.
“We don’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves. This is how it is on the road,” Pope said late Thursday. “We’ve got to go back and spend quite a bit of time tonight going over the film to figure out how we’re going to get better.”
While BYU (17-5, 5-2) saw its three-game winning streak snapped Thursday, Pacific (5-13, 0-4) is winless in West Coast Conference play.
The Tigers have lost seven consecutive games overall, including Thursday’s 64-56 setback at Portland. They are one of two winless teams in WCC play, along with Pepperdine (0-7).
But Pope doesn’t want anyone to be misled because of Pacific’s record.
“They’re a good team. They’re hungry because they haven’t had a ton of success. But they’ve been in every game,” Pope said. “They’re tough and they’re really tough at home. Playing on their home court has been hard for us in the past.”
The Tigers are led by Alphonso Anderson, who is averaging 11.2 points per game.
The Cougars have won seven straight matchups with the Tigers and three in a row at the Spanos Center. BYU beat Pacific 80-51 last season in Stockton. The last time the Cougars lost at the Spanos Center was 2018, when they fell 67-66.
As has been well-publicized, BYU has never lost back-to-back regular season games in three seasons under Pope.
Cougars on the air
BYU (17-5, 5-2)
at Pacific (5-13, 0-4)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. MST
At Spanos Center
Radio: BYU Radio/1160 AM
Two weeks ago, BYU followed up a loss at No. 2 Gonzaga with a victory at San Francisco. It’s time, once again, for the Cougars to try to avoid a losing streak.
“This game asks you all the time, ‘How are you going to respond?’ Once again, these guys get a chance to see how they’re going to respond,” Pope said. “But that Pacific game is going to be way harder than this game was (against Santa Clara). We’ve got to get ourselves together and get constructive as fast as we can and see if we can go give a better performance on Saturday.”
BYU has already beaten the Tigers this season — 73-51 on Jan. 6 in Provo. It trailed 31-30 with 26 seconds left until halftime when Alex Barcello scored an off-balanced 3-pointer with three seconds remaining, which catapulted him over the 1,000-point plateau for his BYU career. Then Spencer Johnson stole an inbounds pass and scored a layup at the halftime buzzer.
“We don’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves. This is how it is on the road.” — BYU coach Mark Pope
In the second half, the Cougars ran away from Pacific for a 22-point victory at the Marriott Center.
But this time, BYU is the visiting team and it is dealing with some bumps and bruises.
In the second half Thursday, both Barcello and Gideon George were seen limping on the floor in what was another physical WCC game.
A little less than 48 hours after that emotional setback at Santa Clara, BYU will take the court again. The Cougars don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves. It’s time to get back to work.
That’s just how it is on the road.