BYU kept things interesting during the first half, but shook off a slow start behind 18 points in 12 minutes from Stephen Rogers to notch a victory against Prairie View A&M with a final score of 90-51.
“Rogers has really responded well coming off the bench,” said coach Dave Rose. Rogers added two rebounds and two assists to the stat sheet as he earned player of the game.
The game began with sloppy play by the Cougars, and the Panthers were able to jump out to an early lead. The Panthers were aggressive on offense and defense, looking to get to baskets and secure rebounds. BYU struggled to keep on their assignments as well as take care of the ball, with five turnovers in the first 10 minutes and nine total in the first half.
“That’s definitely an emphasis we have in practice, taking care of the ball,” said forward Brandon Davies. “We need to be better at it, and more consistent.”
The momentum shifted to the Cougars side when Rose brought in some players off the bench and switched defense from man to zone. The shift was made with 7:18 left in the half, and the Cougars rode their defense to a 15-6 run that gave them a nine point lead at the end of the half.
The Cougars bench played fantastic during the stretch, with Rogers chipping in eight points in nine minutes and Anson Winder adding five points in nine minutes as well.
“Coach has always told me to go in and shoot, so that’s what I go and do,” Rogers said. “I’ve always had the green light, so whenever I get open, get my feet set, I’m confident it’s going to go in.”
The second half opened with both teams trading baskets, and testing the adjustments made at halftime. Forward Charles Abouo lit a fire under the team with a powerful dunk on a follow-up rebound. The Cougars went down the court, where Brandon Davies made an impact by blocking a shot and then staring down the other team.
BYU responded to the energy that the crowd provided by going on a 22-point run without letting Prairie View score, and the game was out of reach.
“We really saw the zone work in the second half, our guys were active, and stuck to their assignments,” said Coach Rose.
BYU would finish the second half shooting 8-12 from behind the arc, and nearly 70 percent from the field. Their zone defense limited Prairie View to 26 percent shooting from the field, and 2-10 shooting from behind the arc, with both coming once the game was already decided.
The coaches pulled the starters with five minutes left, giving the second unit the opportunity to get experience and close out the game. Despite the score, the coaches feel that there is still room for the team to grow.
“The two big things are taking care of the ball, limiting those turnovers, and then getting the ball where it needs to go when it needs to get there,” said Coach Rose. “We can really improve the timing of our passes, and hitting the open guy for the open shot.”
The Cougars had a balanced game on offense, finishing the game with five players in double figures and ten players registering baskets. Rogers led all scoring with 18, Anson Winder had four assists, while Davies had eight rebounds for the game.
The Cougars practice Wednesday to prepare for their upcoming tournament game against the University of Nevada.
“They have really talented players, very athletic, very long, they like to throw the ball in the post,” said Coach Rose. “I expect a competitive game against Nevada.”
The Cougars improve their record to 3-1 on the season with the win.