The BYU men’s basketball team remained undefeated and improved to 3-0 on the season with a decisive 81-65 win over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Saturday night at the Marriott Center.
“This Coastal Carolina team was physical, they were athletic and they were a well-coached team and they came out and gave us a lot of resistance,” sophomore center Eric Mika said.
BYU’s success against Coastal Carolina came from an emphasis to improve on the defensive end. BYU struggled earlier in the week to play strong defense against a similar caliber Coppin State team.
“Well, I thought it was a real good test for us tonight. Defensively, especially in that first half we really kind of came together as a group,” said head coach Dave Rose.
Two areas Rose emphasized for improvement after the Coppin State game were rebounds and turnovers. The Cougars allowed 19 offensive rebounds and had 22 turnovers against Coppin State. Tonight the Cougars limited Coastal Carolina to 13 offensive boards and were able to share the ball effectively, committing just 12 turnovers.
From the opening tip-off, the game was never in doubt. The Cougars quickly took the lead in the opening minutes of the game and never lost it.
“Our defense was key in the first half and we were able to make a little run,” Mika said.
Mika was able to come away with an impressive eight rebounds in the first half and the Cougars went into halftime with a comfortable 40-25 lead.
Mika led all scorers with 19 points and added 11 rebounds.
Another bright spot on the court was the strong all-around performance of senior guard LJ Rose. Going into the season the question on everyone’s mind was who is going to fill the role of Kyle Collinsworth. The answer seems to be LJ Rose.
LJ came away with a near triple double. He finished the night with nine points, nine assists, and six rebounds.
“Whatever it takes to win,” LJ Rose said. “Just lose yourself on the defensive end and everything takes care of itself.”
Dave Rose was able to start playing with different rotations in the game, which will provide added depth when the cougars begin to face tougher competition later in the season.
“All in all we got a chance to play three or four different groups for extended minutes,” Dave Rose said.
The Cougars now face a daunting turnaround, playing Saint Louis on Monday. The Cougars do not practice on Sundays and will go into the game with little preparation. However, the BYU coaching staff has dealt with this situation before and the group is confident the team will be prepared on Monday.
“I’m happy for the win and looking forward to getting to Vegas and playing these next few games,” Dave Rose said.