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Can BYU extend its winning streak as it opens West Coast Conference play?

Will injured guard Spencer Johnson return to the lineup?

SHARE Can BYU extend its winning streak as it opens West Coast Conference play?

Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) dribbles as San Francisco Dons forward Patrick Tape (11) guards him in the 2022 West Coast Conference men’s basketball quarterfinals at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 5, 2022. BYU lost 63-75.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

As BYU enters West Coast Conference play, it is playing its best basketball of the season.

The Cougars are riding a five-game winning streak, including victories over Creighton and Utah. 

BYU (10-5) will try to extend that streak, and get off to a good start in league play on Wednesday (7 p.m., MST, WCC Network) at Pacific.

A year ago, the Cougars suffered a surprising and painful 76-73 loss to the Tigers at the Spanos Center, who had lost seven consecutive games.

Pacific (7-8) has won three straight contests, including a 74-65 win over Lamar on Dec. 20.


Cougars on the air

BYU (10-5, 0-0) at Pacific (7-8, 0-0)

Thursday, 7 p.m. MST

Spanos Center

TV: WCC Network

Radio: BYU Radio/1160 AM

The Tigers rank No. 20 nationally in 3-point shooting at 39.3%. Luke Avdalovic is No. 1 in the WCC in 3-point shooting as he is making 3s at a 59.7% clip. 

“Pacific plays so hard and they’re dangerous for everybody in this league,” said coach Mark Pope.“They’re shooting the ball unbelievably well … They’re so athletic and really long and wildly athletic. They have a big-time presence in the middle … They’re a good team; a veteran team.”

BYU has been without guard Spencer Johnson for more than a month as he’s dealt with an injury.

Pope said Johnson participated in practice Tuesday. He could return to the lineup this week. 

“He’s not moving like himself yet. We’ll see how he feels (Wednesday),” Pope said. “He’s knocking on the door. He’s close.”

While few are expecting the Cougars to compete for a WCC title in their final season in the league, Pope is focused on helping his player continue to make incremental progress. 

BYU has already suffered some tough losses this season, including to South Dakota and Utah Valley University. 

“We’ve already dropped some games that are brutal,” Pope said. “I don’t think we’re in a space where we’ll take anyone for granted.”