PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The frustration levels reached a season high this past weekend after the BYU basketball team got swept by Santa Clara and San Francisco, dropping the Cougars to fifth place in the West Coast Conference.
“Obviously when you go on the road and you lose two straight, no one is happy about that,” said guard Rudi Williams. “But we had all of Sunday off, and everybody could get the bitterness out. Guys are just looking forward and kicking it under the rug this past weekend.”
After a seven-game winning streak, BYU has now lost four of its last six games to fall to 14-9 overall on the season.
“We are so desperate to get better, and we can’t afford backward steps,” said head coach Mark Pope. “It happens in growing, and if I was more mature and a little bit more of an adult, I would be willing to accept that. But we are just running out of time.”
Turnovers have been a problem for BYU all season long, and they were an issue this past weekend as the Cougars committed 34 of them in the two losses.
“That’s one of the issues we’re facing,” Pope said. “We’ve got like, unfortunately for us, 30 of them. Not 30 turnovers, we’ve got like 30 issues. Although we have teased 30 turnovers in a game, but we’ve never got there yet thankfully.”
BYU is also last in the WCC in scoring in conference games at 72.8 points per game.
Rudi Williams has been a bright spot of late for BYU. He put up 24 against Santa Clara and a season-high 28 against USF, but he says he needs to get even more involved earlier.
“I need to assert myself earlier in the game and try to be more aggressive earlier,” Williams said. “See if I can catch a rhythm before it’s too late in the game.”
It doesn’t get much easier for BYU as #22 St. Mary’s, who leads the WCC, comes to Provo Saturday night.
“This is a great team, and they’re playing really well together,” Pope said. “They’ve got superstars on this team. They’re good. Clearly, they’re the best team in our league right now. They’re one of the best teams in the country.”
“What I’ve seen on film, they’ve been pretty deliberate,” added Williams. “They’re going to walk the ball up and they’re going to make you guard for 30 seconds. It’s not sexy basketball, but they’re a good team and they get stuff done.”
BYU (14-9, 4-4 WCC) will host #22 St. Mary’s (18-4, 7-0 WCC) Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. at the Marriott Center.