PROVO — What started as a neck-and-neck game ended with a Cougar 39-point win and a new record for points from three-pointers in back-to-back games.
Breaking the old record of 26 points from the 2006-2007 season, BYU stepped on the court and into the record book as a team.
Even with a gaping 39-point win, coach Dave Rose as usual chose to focus on the five varying players on the court.
“The most important thing tonight is that we got better as a team,” Rose said. “As the game went on, I thought we got better. We had some guys that really started to step up and look really comfortable in positions that we’re trying to play them in.”
The most important thing tonight is that we got better as a team. As the game went on, I thought we got better. We had some guys that really started to step up and look really comfortable in positions that we're trying to play them in.
Stephen Rogers is one such player who has become quite comfortable with his position as a starter. Scoring 18 points, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood seems to be ever growing — including almost any spot of the arc (scored six three-pointers in the last two games).
“I’d definitely say that I feel a little bit more comfortable,” Rogers said. “I’m getting more confident with my shooting. (Coach) has always told me to shoot and that’s what I love to do, so it’s not a problem with me. Anytime I get open and ready, get my feet set, I’m confident it’s going to go in.”
One street over from Rogers is next-highest scorers Brandon Davies and Charles Abouo, with 13 points.
Wing guard Abouo is a player known for flying around the court and not having any preferred home base. Tuesday’s game against Prairie View A&M was no exception. Ending with 13 points, three assists, two blocks and one steal, Abouo truly does have wings.
“I don’t let my game be limited by the guard or forward (positions),” Abouo said. “I am a guard and that’s what I play, (but) I feel like as a guard you can still be physical — scoring at the post, get a lot of rebounds. With our coaches, they give us a lot of freedom and a lot of versatility. Our guards have the freedom to post up, do a lot of things inside. Coach Rose and the staff give us a really fun system to play in.”
Deeper inside the beast of the game, Rose has planted a truly trained and ready fighting machine, Brandon Davies.
“We’re really trying to get him (Davies) to play in an attacking mode,” Rose said. “What Brandon needs to do is understand that we’re going to play through him and we want him to attack. Read the defense, see if they’re going to bring a second defender and go from there.”
The cherry on top for the Cougars sweet 39-point victory was the combination of their eight steals and the Panthers’ 12 turnovers that brought about a significant amount of successful breakaways. In theory, breakaways are commonly unplanned for moments. But with the Cougars, almost every strike is strategic.
“That (breakaways) was part of our game plan simply because of how hard they crashed the boards,” Rose said. “They come so aggressively that if we can actually get the rebound and clear it, we’ll have an advantage.”
With a 39-point win, it is rather clear that BYU had many advantages. From the ever-expanding land in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood to the impossible-to-hold-down Abouo to the planted attacker in the core, the Cougars are moving from individually strong athletes to one well- greased fighting machine.