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November 17, 2012

Preview: Notre Dame vs. BYU

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Head coach: Dave Rose (7th year) - 184-53 in six seasons at BYU. Has taken the Cougars to the NCAA tournament six straight seasons. Before the Cougars moved to the West Coast Conference, Rose was named Mountain West Conference coach of the year in 2006, 2007 and 2011.
You should know: That the Cougars, who joined the West Coast Conference in basketball last year, finished third behind Saint Mary's and Gonzaga with a 12-4 conference mark. That landed them among the First Four in the NCAA tournament and a footnote in the record books. BYU trailed Iona by 25 points and came back to win, 78-72, before falling to Marquette, 88-68, in the Round of 64…BYU head coach Dave Rose was co-captain of the 1983 Houston Cougars, who were known as Phi Slama Jama for their high-rise act on the court. They were led by Hakeem Olujawon and Clyde Drexler…The Cougars have made the NCAA tournament six straight seasons under Rose, including a 30-6 mark in 2008-09 and a 32-5 record with a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2009-10…BYU opened the 2012-13 season with an 81-66 victory over Tennessee State, followed by an 80-62 win over Georgia State. The Cougars lost for the first time Friday night as Florida State pulled away for an 88-70 victory in Coaches vs. Cancer Classic action in Brooklyn.

Top losses: Noah Hartsock (16.8 ppg., 5.0 rpg.), Charles Abouo (11.0 pgg., 6.2 rpg., 2.6 apg.)

Top players: Despite the loss of prominent contributors such as Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo, the Cougars still have plenty of talent on hand, led by 6-foot-9, 235-pound senior Brandon Davies. Davies, who averaged 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last year while shooting .516 from the field, is off to a blazing start with 21.0 scoring and 7.0 rebounding averages. He scored 19 points in the loss to Florida State, and 28 in the victory over Georgia State.

Tyler Hawes, a 6-foot-5 sophomore who spent the last two years on an LDS Church Mission, has been a consistent scoring force in the Cougars' first three games. He's scored 22, 22 and 23 points in his first games back since averaging 11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds as a freshman in 2009-10. Hawes entered the season with 48 straight free throws dating back to his rookie season. He's made 12-of-13 this season.

Brock Zylstra is scoring at a 9.7 rate after averaging 8.3 points and 4.3 rebounds last season. The 6-foot-6 senior has converted 6-of-14 three-point attempts.

Point guard Matt Carlino, a 6-foot-2 sophomore transfer from UCLA, missed all nine of his shots Friday night in the loss to Florida State. He averaged 12.2 points and 4.6 assists per game last season, and is at 6.3 assists per game so far this season.

Former walk-on Craig Cusack, a 6-foot-2 senior, averages 6.3 points while 6-foot-11, 230-pound sophomore Nate Austin contributes 4.0 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Inside the Irish: Eric Atkins' three-pointer from the corner with 4:01 in regulation gave the Irish a 66-58 lead Friday night against St. Joseph's in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn. It would be the last points scored by the Irish until well into overtime as the Hawks tallied 13 straight and handed Notre Dame a 79-70 overtime loss.

St. Joseph's big men Ronald Roberts, C.J. Aiken and Halil Kanacevic hammered Notre Dame inside, combining for 37 points and 31 rebounds. The Irish were fortunate to be trailing by one at halftime, 37-36, as the Hawks went on a slam-dunk fest for most of the first half after the Irish jumped to an 8-0 lead.

Notre Dame shot just 39.1 percent from the field (27-of-69) and was out-scored by 13 points at the free-throw line.

All five Irish starters scored in double figures, led by Jack Cooley's 14. Scott Martin scored 13, Eric Atkins 12, Pat Connaughton 11 and Jerian Grant 10. Grant's inconsistent play hurt the Irish, particularly his 4-of-17 shooting. Cooley had 14 of Notre Dame's 33 rebounds. Atkins finished with 10 assists.

Roberts paced the Hawks with 21 points and 16 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. Chris Wilson, starting in place of suspended guard Carl Jones, had 19 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Pointspread: NL at post time
Prister's Prediction: Notre Dame 77, Brigham Young 71
Prister's record: 2-1 straight up; 2-0 vs. points


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