Win the Rebound Battle
While BYU is a good rebounding team, San Francisco is a great one. The Dons rank in the Top 50 nationally in rebounds per game with 39.4, while the Cougars sit just outside the Top 100 with 37.3.
A two-rebound difference may not seem like much, but BYU has lost the battle of the boards in six of their eight losses this year.
And then there’s San Francisco’s rebounding margin. They out-rebound teams by an average of six boards per game, also Top 50 nationally. So they’re just as good at keeping their opponents from getting rebounds as they are at getting them themselves.
On Thursday night the Cougars out-rebounded Pepperdine 38-34, and during the stretches that they dominated the boards they controlled the game. But BYU lapsed defensively and in their rebounding at the beginning of the second half, and the Waves went on a 15-5 run to completely erase BYU’s lead.
Gavin Baxter may be the key here. While he’s not starting, he’s starting to see more and more minutes, especially since Luke Worthington attracts fouls just like Yoeli Childs attracts defenders.
Childs is still the primary rebounding machine for the Cougars, but having another big in the game with jumping ability certainly helps BYU secure the boards.