BYU basketball: Noah Hartsock leads Blue team to win at Cougar Tipoff
Jonathan Hardy, BYU
PROVO — During Cougar Tipoff at the Marriott Center, senior forward Noah Hartsock found himself surrounded by new faces.
Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery, two of the best guards in school history, weren't around to hoist jumpers or steal passes.
Actually, Fredette and Emery were in attendance — they sat inconspicuously behind the bench in street clothes, watching the glorified scrimmage. But their stellar BYU careers are history. It's a new era.
And Hartsock figures to play an even bigger role these days, and ease the post-Jimmer transition, if Wednesday's scrimmage is any indication. Hartsock recorded a double-double, with a game-high 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, in leading the Blue team to a 74-71 victory over the White squad.
"We're a young team, I mean, nine freshmen," Hartsock said, who knocked down 10-of-13 shots from the floor. "We have things we have to do to get better. That's the thing about these Blue-White games, someone makes a good offensive play, but you look at it, and someone made a defensive mistake. We still have a lot to learn. But we were a competitive bunch tonight."
Senior Charles Abouo scored 19 points, also for the Blue team. For the White, Stephen Rogers poured in 20 points, Brandon Davies poured in 19, and Brock Zylstra added 16.
Then there was the host of newcomers, including true freshman Damarcus Harrison, who scored 14 for the Blue squad.
"There are a lot of great options on this team," Hartsock said. "We definitely miss Jimmer and Jackson and their leadership and what they were able to do. But this year, we have different players who will step up in those roles."
The Blue team was in control for most of the game, leading by as many as 13 in the first half. The White squad battled back in the second half, tying the score at 65-65 with two minutes remaining. Hartsock buried two free throws with 9.4 seconds left to seal the outcome.
"It went like most scrimmages that we have. I was pleased generally with a lot of things," said coach Dave Rose. "We have quite a few things to work on. That's typical for this time of year. We have a lot of new faces out there. The experienced players felt the most comfortable. Noah and Charles were very good, as expected. Damarcus stood out as a guy who was aggressive and confident for a young player."
Utah transfer Josh Sharp, a redshirt freshman, is expected to make an impact this season. Asked about his decision to transfer to BYU from Utah after his mission, Sharp said, "There's not much to talk about. The opportunity opened up and it was something that felt right. I haven't regretted it. I'm glad to be here and help out the team."
Rose said he hasn't settled on a starting lineup yet. But his plan is for the Cougars to continue winning, even without Fredette and Emery.
"It's important that we have a really consistent program, that we don't just have a good team, then struggle for a year or two to try to build for another good team," Rose said. "We wanted to have year after year after year of good, competitive teams that the fans can be proud of. We lost a lot from last year's team, but there are pieces in place of the guys who played certain roles last year and their roles will change this year. Then we have new talent with young guys coming in. Hopefully we can put together another really successful season and keep things on a roll. We're a long ways from being a really good team right now. But that's to be expected."
The Cougars play their first exhibition game Saturday at home against Midwestern State, a Division II school. Former Cougar guard Michael Loyd Jr., plays for Midwestern State.
"It will be fun to see Mike," Rose said.
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