‘Huge’ road game at Loyola Marymount awaits Cougars Saturday, and a revamped schedule next week

Loyola Marymount guard Eli Scott looks to pass during a game against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Scott leads LMU in scoring (17.9), rebounding (8.2) and assists (3.9) per game and will be point of emphasis for the Cougars during game Saturday afternoon. | Young Kwak, Associated Press

The West Coast Conference announced league-wide scheduling changes for the final week of the regular season. For the Cougars (16-5, 7-3), those changes were significant

The twists and turns of this unusual pandemic college basketball season continue.

Playing in its first game in more than a week, BYU crushed Pacific 80-52 Thursday night at the Spanos Center and then on Friday, the Cougars climbed from No. 29 to a season-high No. 25 in the NCAA’s NET rankings.

Not long before that resounding victory, the West Coast Conference announced league-wide scheduling changes for the final week of the regular season.

For BYU (16-5, 7-3), those changes were significant.

The Cougars originally were scheduled to host Santa Clara next Saturday. Instead, they will play San Francisco on Thursday and Saint Mary’s in the regular-season finale next Saturday.

Coach Mark Pope held back when asked about his reaction to the schedule modifications.

“I have a whole host of very clearly delineated comments in my mind that I’m not going to share about that,” he told the BYU Radio Network. “Our focus right now is, we have a huge game on Saturday.”

BYU visits Loyola Marymount Saturday (1 p.m., MST, CBS SN) at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles.

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The Lions (11-6, 6-3) mounted a late rally to defeat San Francisco Thursday on the road, 68-63.

LMU scored the game’s final seven points, all from the foul line, over the last 66 seconds. The Lions’ 7-foot-3 center, Mattias Markusson, scored 11 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Eli Scott added 18 points and dished out seven assists for LMU, while Keli Leaupepe chipped in 14 points.

Scott leads LMU in scoring (17.9), rebounding (8.2) and assists (3.9) per game.

“LMU is playing great basketball right now. They probably have, aside from the Zags, the most difficult matchups in our league — some matchups that are really problematic and are going to test us and challenge us. It’s always hard to play in that gym.” — Mark Pope

“LMU is playing great basketball right now,” Pope said. “They probably have, aside from the Zags, the most difficult matchups in our league — some matchups that are really problematic and are going to test us and challenge us. It’s always hard to play in that gym.”

Before beating Pacific, BYU hadn’t played a game in 10 days. The Cougars have endured a few long layoffs during the WCC schedule due to COVID-19 issues affecting other teams that have resulted in canceled or postponed games.

“As you get into the dog days of February right now, the whole key — and it’s not easy — is can your team stay focused on the task at hand and not get distracted by any of the …read more

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Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

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