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Cougar Tracks: BYU preps for "long, athletic" Bears

Cougar Tracks: BYU preps for "long, athletic" Bears

By Greg Wrubell | Posted - Dec. 15, 2011 at 5:14 p.m.

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Two days before welcoming #6/#7 Baylor into the Marriott Center, BYU Basketball head coach Dave Rose ran his team through a Thursday afternoon practice session at the Marriott Center--a practice that forward Stephen Rogers left early with a knee injury Rose said "seemed pretty serious."


Rose said Rogers "has had a problem with (the knee) for about two weeks; he had to come out of the Utah game because he bumped knees, but today it seemed pretty serious, he was in a lot of pain.

Rose says Rogers was taken to the hospital for an MRI, and "we'll know a little bit more tonight."

The coach said "it's a big blow if he can't play" versus the Bears on Saturday.


While the Rogers injury put a damper on the day, there is optimism in BYU's camp with the eligibility of point guard Matt Carlino, who transferred from UCLA last December and with the end of the Fall semester has fulfilled the NCAA's transfer requirements.

"We'll see," said Rose, when asked to assess Carlino's readiness for game action. "I like the way he practices, and I think the last two or three weeks, the majority of the reps that he's gotten have been with our team, running our stuff. Before that, he was here as a practice player, running everyone else's stuff."

"We like what he does, we like what he brings...we'll see how quickly he adjusts. He's never played a Division 1 college game, so this will be an experience for him, and hopefully he adjusts as soon as possible. But every player is different."

Rose said Carlino will not start on Saturday; asked who would get the start at the point, Rose said "I don't know yet; that's a good question."

"I'm comfortable with both those guys," said Rose, speaking of Anson Winder (six starts) and Craig Cusick (two starts). "I just feel that we have some real good depth at that spot."

Of late, Winder's offensive play has dipped; following a 10-point, six assist outing in a win over Oregon, he has gone 0-for- 8 from the field with only a single assist and two turnovers in the ensuing two games. Cusick has played an average of 24.5 minutes per game in the last two, scoring 10 points (on 2-for-6 shooting), with 14 helpers and two turnovers.


Carlino will not be the only Pac-12 transfer point guard to see his first action of the season on Saturday. Baylor PG Gary Franklin becomes eligible for the BYU game, having left Cal after starting 11 of his first 13 games last season in Berkeley.

"It's not the most ideal situation, to add a player ten games in," said Rose of the in-season introduction of Carlino, "but we felt like the opportunity to get Matt and have him here for three-and-half years with us was worth this adjustment period that we're going to go through right here."


Baylor is the highest-ranked non-conference team to visit the Marriott Center since 6th-ranked Wake Forest came to Provo on Jan. 9, 2009; the Demon Deacons left with a hard- fought 94-87 win, and Rose said the 8-0 Bears possess some similarities to the ACC visitors from three years ago.

"The styles are a little bit different, but the similarities are how athletic they are, and their size," said Rose. "This is a really long, athletic team that switches defense a lot. They have a real balanced-scoring team."

"It's a team that is put together very well...(head coach) Scott (Drew)'s got a really nice team."

Four Baylor players are averaging 12 points a game or more, with two others averaging nine points per contest. "They're all very capable scorers," Rose says. "What you have to do is stop all of them from having big nights...hopefully you keep all of them under control. If one or two of them have a big night, with the balance from the other group, it's going to be really difficult."


It's rare for BYU to get a highly-ranked "name" team to visit the Marriott Center, a fact Rose addressed with reporters.

"We call a lot of people, and most people don't have an interest, but Scott (Drew) had a little bit of an interest, and then it went away. We kind of moved on, but then he called, and said 'this looks like something we may want to do, but these are the parameters.'"

Rose said Baylor required that the game be played on a certain date and that the game conclude before 3:00pm local time, to allow the team to return home before a Monday game in Waco.

"It's our finals week, not the greatest time," said Rose, "but we're really excited to have them."


Various Baylor players are prolific shot blockers and dunkers. Forward Quincy Acy has scored almost 40% of his career points and recorded more than 50% of his career field goals on dunks. Acy and F Cory Jefferson have Baylor as the only team in the country sporting multiple players in the current top 20 in blocked shots.

Rose said "I've played with players like's a team that reminds me a lot of the team that I played on (at Houston in the early '80s ); just a lot of long, athletic guys who are very skilled. I think they had ten dunks the other night...that's probably more than we've had this season."

(for the record, BYU has 16 dunks on the season)


BYU and Baylor meet at a sold-our Marriott Center Saturday at noon; pregame coverage begins at 11:00am on KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM and 1160 AM) and BYU Radio (SiriusXM 143).

Following game coverage, stay tuned for "Cougar Sports Saturday," with host Alex Kirry from 3:00-6:00pm.


Greg Wrubell


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