BYU Basketball: Keys to getting back on track against Illinois State

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

After a poor offensive showing against Houston on Saturday, BYU Basketball needs to get back on track with a road win at Illinois State.

BYU Basketball picked a bad day to leave their offense at home on Saturday, blowing one of their few home games with NCAA Tournament implications in their loss to Houston.

The BYU defense wasn’t great on Saturday either, but they managed to hold Houston under their shooting averages. It was a nightmare on offense, though, shooting just 40% from the field and 28.6 percent from distance.

If it wasn’t for TJ Haws scoring 25 points and hitting 6-12 from three those numbers would have gone from bad to nightmarish.

Houston dared BYU to beat them from the three-point line, and they couldn’t do it.

Look for other teams to start using that strategy until BYU can figure out how to hit open jumpers. Certainly expect to see Illinois State do just that in Wednesday night’s matchup.

While the Redbirds certainly aren’t a marquee name, they’re a dangerous team, and a road win could mean something come March. Illinois State’s RPI is No. 38, and they could easily still sit in the Top 100 by the end of the season.

But for that to happen, a different BYU team is going to have to show up than the one that took on Houston. If the Cougars are going to pick up their first road win of the year, they’re going to have to do these things well:

Close Out On Shooters

Houston hit 42.3% of their three-pointers on Saturday, and a good chunk of those makes came because BYU defenders closed out on the shooter too late. The biggest guilty party was Yoeli Childs, who failed to bother any of Cedrick Alley Jr.’s five three-point makes.

The Cougar defense has been pretty solid so far this season, but three-point defense hasn’t been a bright spot.

Illinois State shoots a respectable 37% from distance, and junior guard Josh Jefferson is hitting 52.5% from deep. The Cougars can’t give him any airspace, and they’ve got to do better at closing that space against the other Redbirds.