By Tyler Webb
The BYU men”s basketball team will try to improve its game by playing one of the United Kingdom”s best teams Saturday night, when it takes on the London Leopards.
The Cougars are looking to bounce back after a tough overtime loss Tuesday night.
“We need to play more physical and rebound the basketball and we will do all right,” said senior point guard Matt Montague.
The Cougars will have the overall size advantage over the Leopards. The Leopards have only three players over 6 feet 7.
Lack of size will not be an issue regarding the Cougars” inability to rebound the basketball in this game.
The Cougars were out-rebounded by a bigger and older EA Sport team Tuesday, Nov. 6. The Leopards are quick on the guard line and will challenge BYU”s talented perimeter players.
BYU junior Travis Hansen said the team has a goal to get a defensive stop on every possession. The Cougars will need Hansen for his offensive scoring as well as his defense.
After the Cougars” loss Tuesday, coach Cleveland said Hansen must look to penetrate to the basket and score more in the future.
“We need to have a balanced scoring attack; we can”t just have one or two guys trying to score all the points and expect to win,” Hansen said.
To help the Cougars” offense, the coaches put in a zone offense to utilize their strengths.
The Cougars have a number of players who can shoot the three-pointer. Sophomore forward Mark Bigelow hit three three-pointers on Tuesday night, including one to send the game into overtime.
BYU will look to the leadership and experience of Matt Montague to run the offense.
“I am kind of like a quarterback in football,” Montague said. “I am doing all I can to help the team and to set an example by working hard every day.”
The Cougars have only two seniors on the team this year.
Experience and understanding the game early in the season will be necessary for the Cougars” success. They will be competing in a conference with teams loaded with returning lettermen and a lot of experienced players.
“Our biggest strength is going to be playing smart basketball,” Montague said. “We are not the most athletic team around.”
The Leopards are an experienced team. They are a professional club team with many former college players that tours the country playing other colleges.
The Leopards lost to the University of Utah by 13 points Monday night, Nov. 5.
The Leopards” leading scorer is Maurice Robinson. He dropped 19 points on the Utah Utes Wednesday night, Nov. 7.
The BYU team knows what it has to do to win. Hansen said if everyone plays together as a team, they will win the game.