Dick Harmon: Logan Magnusson, Stephen Rogers earn slice of glory
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Stephen Rogers and Logan Magnusson are BYU reserve basketball players who from time to time are called upon to do something remarkable.
They have roles that demand a river of patience, a big slice of humility, tons of hard work and tiny slivers of glory. The job requires no sense of entitlement when egos hang in the balance.
This was on display aplenty Saturday night in BYU's 78-57 win over Hawaii in the Energy Solutions Arena. If the 8-0 Cougars are to continue the undefeated streak, they'll need repeat performances just like this.
Opponents are going after star point guard Jimmer Fredette with a vengeance.
The Cougars also need this injection of energy off the bench because they've been traveling like nomads. From a pair of games at Padre Island, Texas last weekend, to Omaha, Neb., mid-week, the Cougars stopped in this NBA arena before embarking on the "Fredette Tour" in New York Tuesday to play a good Vermont team on Wednesday.
At times, the Cougar starters looked tired. Fredette led BYU with 16, but he failed to make a 3-point basket. But Rogers hit a bushel in minutes.
Rogers had 11 points in nine minutes including his first, second and third 3-point baskets of his career and Magnusson made 5 of 7 field goals in an effort that included scoring nine of his career-high 11 points in the first half to help BYU's cause.
The case of Rogers is an interesting one. A junior college All-American out of Mesa Community College, the Cougars and Utah State Aggies went after him hard this past year. They both liked his specialty — frequently sinking bombs.
But a month into BYU's season, Rogers had missed all seven of his field goal attempts from beyond the arc. In defense of Rogers, his playing time has come in spurts and for a shooter, it's tough to find a rhythm when you don't know when your minutes will come. Rogers had made just 3 of 13 field goals before the Hawaii game.
But in the first half Saturday, Rogers buried a trio of treys from the 6:40 mark to 2:02 to help the Cougars break away to a 37-25 lead. His baseline assist to Magnusson for an easy lay-in put the Cougars up 43-27 at the half.
"He does that every day in practice," said Magnusson. "Sometimes it just takes getting a feel for the offense. Steve is a phenomenal shooter as he showed tonight."
The Magnusson/Rogers duo combined for 9 of 14 shooting, 8 boards and 24 points.
"I think it's great that we have a lot of people step up," said junior starting power forward Noah Hartsock. "Guys like Charles (Abouo), Logan, Stephen and Nick (Martineau) came in and really gave us a boost. We got in foul trouble early and to have those guys do what they do was huge. It gives them confidence and make them that much better."
Rogers, teammates claim, buries 3-point shots every day in practice. That's what he does.
"He's done that all his life and he came here with the expectation that that's what he's going to do. He got untracked tonight," said junior forward Noah Hartsock.
Magnusson, described as one of the team's toughest players, came in against Hawaii after starting center Brandon Davies picked up two quick fouls. Part of his job was to defend Hawaii's Joston Thomas, an athletic forward who likes to drive the key.
Joston finished with 12 points on 4 of 12 shooting and had the BYU partisan crowd on his case for jawing with them during free throws. Magnusson hounded Joston for 19 minutes and did a decent job.
"Some games people are going to get in foul trouble, some games guys aren't going to have their best game and we need people come in and to step up," said Magnusson.
"As long as we know our roles and can step up and do our part, it only improves us as a team."
Rogers, who has shown to be a decent rebounder this season, does have that shooter's look.
When you ask him where his shot's been, he talks like going 0 for 7 from the line before Saturday was only a blip and a numbers game. Shots fall when they fall.
"Not really anything (different)," Rogers said. "Once that first one went down, the confidence was there. The coaches have been great telling me to keep shooting and it will come. I'm hoping that's where it will stay."
It helps Rogers that opposing teams are sending a small army after Fredette.
"One of the things I looked at when I came to BYU was how amazing a player Jimmer Fredette is and when he drives, he draws three or four people with him and that opens it up for others. That's where I can spot up and make some shots."
BYU coach Dave Rose will hope for such a point bump from his reserves.
Davies continues to find foul trouble and Hartsock plays a lot of post defense and is a prime candidate for whistles.
The Cougars will go only as far as their depth and shooting touch will carry them this season.
On Saturday, both were in solid form.
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