Dougherty: near perfect play needed for win against Cougars

Dougherty: near perfect play needed for win against Cougars

Amid a three-game losing streak, the TCU men’s basketball team will face the Brigham Young Cougars at 8 p.m. today.

Head coach Neil Dougherty said regardless of their record, he still thinks the Cougars are the best team in the Mountain West Conference.

“We have to execute to near perfection just to stay in the game, especially since they are at home,” Dougherty said.

BYU has a 42-game winning streak at home, and Dougherty said the only team that has been close with the Cougars in Provo, Utah, was San Diego State.

Dougherty attributes the current three-game skid to a lack of offensive cohesion.

“Our defense was good enough for us to win in those three games; we just had problems putting the ball in the hole,” Dougherty said. “It really got us out of sync offensively when we lost Henry Salter, a guy who was 61 percent from three-point range when he suffered a knee injury against UNLV.”

Junior forward Kevin Langford said the Horned Frogs are going to have to play solid defense to stop BYU.

“We’ve been working on our transition defense to try to shut down the passing lanes and stop their good inside game,” Langford said.

The Cougars’ inside attack is anchored by junior center Trent Plaisted, who leads the team with 201 rebounds, 19 blocked shots and averages 15.1 points per game.

Dougherty said it’s important to keep low-post touches out of Plaisted’s hands because he is so effective in the paint.

Junior forward John Ortiz said the coaches are emphasizing that the players should do their jobs and play with a lot of intensity.

“We respect them,” Ortiz said. “We’re going to have to do what we always do – go out there and play hard and execute our assignments.”

After a stop in Provo, the Horned Frogs return home for a game against SDSU.

Dougherty said he has noticed a definite difference in the recent attendance for TCU home games and he hopes it will continue.

“It puts a smile on my face to see all those people at our games because it makes our guys happy,” Dougherty said. “I hope the attendance continues to grow.”