BYU's Tavernari shooting way out of slump

BYU's Tavernari shooting way out of slump

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PROVO -- Although a few players on the BYU basketball team (3-0) have had sizzling starts this season, others have had a tough time getting things going early on.

Senior forward Jonathan Tavernari is the most obvious of those with early season struggles. He entered the game against Hawaii last Friday having made a mere seven of 30 shot attempts, averaging only a tad more than eight points per game.

In the season opener against Bradley, BYU Head Coach Dave Rose alluded to the fact that Tavernari took some ill-advised shots. Rose said after the Idaho State game that he felt his player had taken better shots, but just hadn't been able to knock them down.

I know my shot will come. I'm going to score points. I'm not going to shoot (poorly) every night. You just have to keep playing and keep shooting.

–Jonathan Tavernari

It was a different story once the Hawaii game started, and the "Brazilian Bomber" scored 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Tavernari said it felt good to get back on track.

"I know that I can improve my shot selection, but I also think that I've taken good shots," Tavernari said. "The coaches keep calling plays for me and putting confidence in me. So when you have that kind of confidence around you, it motivates you to do better."

He acknowledged the fact that he was quite frustrated after the first two games.

"You always want to start the season in the right state of mind," Tavernari said. "The most important thing is that it's not about myself; it's not an individual sport."

Even though he struggled in the first two games, Tavernari said he feels he can carry the success he had against Hawaii into tonight's game against Southern.

"We're 3-0, and about to be 4-0 (Tuesday), and I think that's the most important thing. I know my shot will come. I'm going to score points. I'm not going to shoot (poorly) every night. You just have to keep playing and keep shooting," he said.

Tavernari and the Cougars are set to face Southern University (0-3) this evening at the Marriott Center and Tavernari's prediction of the outcome doesn't seem to be a stretch.

The Jaguars lost by 40 to Utah on Nov. 21, and are only averaging 51 points per contest while allowing opponents to score 80 points.

Rose said he saw some effects from the excessive travel his team experienced over the weekend, but thinks they will be able to come out with enough energy against Southern.

Although tonight's game may not be as competitive as the Cougars need to get ready for conference play, Rose said his team will still need to play with a sense of urgency defensively.

"I think they've got really good individual talent, and can go off and make shots. Right now they're having a hard time, and one of their best players didn't play at Utah, but he had a great game against Oklahoma State," Rose said. "We've just got to make them take tough shots, because I think if you let them get comfortable their capable of really scoring.

Rose opted to start a true freshman in Tyler Haws in Friday's game against Hawaii, and expects to stick with the same lineup tonight against the Jaguars.

The Jaguars are led in scoring by 6-foot-5 guard Jazz Williams, who scored 21 points against Utah, and is averaging just over 12 points per game this season.

Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. at the Marriott Center.

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