Tonight, CSU will try to hang with BYU for longer than 10 minutes.
After a 91-47 beat-down earlier this season, the Rams host the No. 14 Cougars in Moby Arena for a shot at redemption.
â€œIt was a debacle last time, but weâ€™re not going to let that loss define us,â€ said head coach Tim Miles.
The Rams stuck close with the Cougars until the final minutes of the first half during their game Jan. 16 when BYU reeled off an 18-4 run, essentially putting the game away by halftime.
But if the Rams can keep it close or grab the lead at halftime, a home victory over the Cougars is within reach. On the season, CSU is 11-0 when leading at halftime, but only 2-7 when trailing.
â€œItâ€™s very important to get off to a fast start and stay on them and keep pressing. We lost our composure last game,â€ Miles said.
Since that loss, the Rams (15-9, 6-4 MWC) have gone 4-3, winners of three straight Mountain West Conference games.
The Cougars (23-3, 8-2) come in ranked second in the Mountain West Conference behind New Mexico, but itâ€™s no secret the Cougars are arguably the best team the Rams play this season.
BYU ranks first in many team categories: scoring offense (82.4 points per game), scoring defense (63.4), scoring margin ( 19.0), field-goal percentage (49.1), field-goal defense (39.5) and assists (16.6).
And they are led by junior Jimmer Fredette, averaging 20.9 points per game, best in the conference.
â€œHe has incredible ball-handling skills,â€ Miles said. â€œHis stats are better than any player-of-the-year candidates. Heâ€™s an NBA prospect and it will take a team defense approach to stop him. Weâ€™re going to throw a lot of fresh bodies at him.â€
Defensive stalwart Harvey Perry will be one of those defending Fredette.
â€œHeâ€™s a tough cover for anybody. He not only looks for his own shot but also sets up his teammates,â€ Perry
said. â€œIâ€™ll have to focus more on getting back in transition and staying in front of him.â€
BYU likes to run and press the ball offensively in transition. With a week to prepare, the Rams have worked on their transition defense.
â€œWe need to be disciplined and get back to our spots on defense and make then run a half-court offense where we are much more comfortable,â€ said junior forward Andre McFarland.
As has been the case earlier this season in wins over Wyoming and CU-Boulder, Miles expects a big and enthusiastic crowd in Moby.
â€œThe fans can absolutely make a difference in this gym. They inspire the team to play better and make this a whole different arena,â€ Miles said.
BYU has won seven consecutive meetings, the two most recent at Moby Arena. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. Visit CollegianSports.com for an in-game chat and analysis on the live blog.
Menâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.