BYU to play San Diego in quarterfinals

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The game is set. There are no more questions as to who the BYU men’s basketball team will play Friday night in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament. The only question that remains is whether the Cougars can imitate the outcome of the past two contests against the Toreros.

San Diego defeated Pepperdine 76-54 Thursday night to advance to take on BYU. Freshman guard Johnny Dee had a career-high 30 points, including 6-for-9 from beyond the arc. The Toreros (13-17, 8-9) hit 8-for-16 from 3 as a team.

“They have got a lot deeper since we last played them,” BYU assistant head coach Mark Pope said. “We were paying attention to four or five guys, and now we have to pay attention to seven or eight. They can do it from a lot of different places. (Johnny) Dee is a marquee guy, but they have other guys that are going to make big plays on any given night.

The Cougars (24-7, 12-4 WCC) ran over the Toreros both times they played. They won 88-52 in Provo back in December, and then dealt San Diego an 82-63 beating in January. Even with the test of trying to beat a team three times in one season, the Cougars are confident of their abilities.

“The beautiful thing about this is that you only have to beat them once, and that’s how we approach it,” Pope said. “That’s what we think about and we’ve got to get it done tomorrow.”

The Cougars may be without all-conference senior forward Noah Hartsock, who is listed day-to-day and will be a game-time decision. The same is true for junior forward Stephen Rogers, but junior guard Brock Zylstra and freshman forward Nate Austin will be counted on to continue their reliable performances if one or neither is able to play.

The game will tip off at 9 p.m. MST and will be televised on ESPNU.

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