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BYU Men’s Hoops: Cougars try to push through end of semester

December 21, 2017 GMT

The BYU men’s basketball team wants to forget about the Utah win and just move on.

While Cougar fans will revel in Saturday’s 77-65 victory against the Utes until the two teams play again next winter, sophomore Yoeli Childs said he and his teammates are ready for their next challenge.

“Honestly, no one cares that we won the game,” Childs said. “We celebrated in the locker room for a few minutes, but now we want to get back to work.”

BYU coach Dave Rose knows part of his job is to guard against a letdown following the Utah win and dealing with finals week.

“As coaches, that’s kind of what we do, we’re concerned,” Rose said. “When you look around college basketball and you try to see how this works, no one is immune from it. It happens. What you hope is that your guys are good enough with each other that they can hold each other accountable enough. There is a certain way you have to play and execute in order to be successful. Hopefully we find a way to do that every night no matter who we’re playing.”

The Cougars have two games this week: Thursday against Idaho State and Saturday against Texas Southern. BYU has had a lot of success against the Bengals, holding a 33-6 overall mark in the series. The Cougars have won eight in a row and are 14-2 against Idaho State in the Marriott Center.

“I know Idaho State can really shoot the ball,” Rose said. “They’ve got three or four guys on the perimeter (that can shoot). The last four games they’ve averaged 10 makes (3-pointers) and they’re averaging 80 points. They’re shooting 48 percent. They’ve got a big 7-footer in the middle that they play through. They’re a little bit different than a lot of the teams we’ve played. They don’t set a lot of ball screens. Getting to the shooters will be our big challenge defensively.”

Texas Southern — the preseason pick to win the SWAC — is 0-12 this season but has played an absolutely brutal schedule with all 12 games on the road. Diminutive point guard Demontrae Jefferson (5-foot-7) is one of the country’s top scorers at 23.4 points per game.

The Cougars (9-2) hope to finish the preseason strong with West Coast Conference play beginning Dec. 28.

“I think we’ve done a good job in practice so far clearing our minds when we get out on the court,” BYU junior forward Luke Worthington said. “I have no doubt we’ll be ready to play the game because we’ve shown in practice that even though we have the mental stress of finals and the emotional Utah win, we can bounce back.”

Fit as a fiddle

Childs caused some concern when he had to be helped off the court in the second half against Utah. He returned to the game but was limping noticeably. Turns out it was a leg cramp and Childs said he was good to go and asked the media in attendance to spread the word.

“It hurt, but it was a short-term thing,” Childs said. “It was embarrassing, rolling around on the ground like a little girl in front of 20,000 people. But I’ll be good to go.”