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BYU basketball: Charles Abouo plays fashionably

Published: Friday, Nov. 18 2011 10:52 p.m. MST

BYU coach Dave Rose talks to Stephen Rogers as BYU plays Longwood in the men's basketball home opener Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, in Provo, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

PROVO — BYU's Charles Abouo unwittingly made a fashion statement Friday night at the Marriott Center. Though he didn't do it on purpose, the 6-foot-5 senior wore his shorts backwards.

Most observers probably didn't notice the minor faux pas, but Abouo let his performance on the court speak for itself.

Abouo recorded a double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Cougars (2-1) to a 92-60 victory over Longwood (1-3).

"I noticed right before they threw up the ball for the tip, then it was too late to change them," Abouo said of his uniform malfunction. "I just decided to keep it that way at halftime."

But he won't wear his shorts backwards the rest of the season, despite how well he played. "I won't do it again," Abouo said.

Abouo was one of four BYU players who scored in double figures, along with Noah Hartsock (18), Stephen Rogers (17), and Damarcus Harrison (11).

BYU coach Dave Rose would like to see Abouo's production in scoring and rebounding be a regular occurrence.

"The 16 boards were really impressive, it's something we really need from Charles," Rose said. "Charles is a guy who's got great athletic ability. We're playing him in a different role than what he's used to and tonight he kind of broke out. He felt comfortable out there as a player in the role we need him to perform in."

Defensively, the Lancers were focused on slowing down BYU post players Hartsock and Brandon Davies. So the Cougars made Longwood pay from long distance, knocking down 15 3-pointers. Eight different BYU players hit shots from behind the arc, with Rogers and Harrison hitting three apiece. Abouo, Brock Zylstra and Anson Winder had two each.

"I think that's more like the personality of this team," Rose said of his team's outside shooting. "I've been surprised, and I think our players have been a little surprised, that we haven't shot the ball as well as we're capable of."

Going into Friday's game, the Cougars had connected on only 7-of-27 shots from 3-point territory in their first two games.

BYU nailed 15-of-26 from 3-point range on Friday.

"We had to force them to make some perimeter shots," said Longwood coach Mike Gillian, "but 15-for-26, that's pretty hard to beat. We were trying to force them to make those perimeter shots, and they did."

Rose decided to shake up the starting lineup on Friday, starting Craig Cusick at point guard instead of Zylstra, who was moved to his natural position, shooting guard. Winder, a redshirt freshman, scored eight points and dished out a team-high five assists.

Winder was switched from shooting guard to point guard this week.

"I like how aggressive he is with the ball," Rose said of Winder. "I think he's a guy who plays on attack. It's not the natural position for him, but it's a position he's comfortable playing. He played it quite a bit in high school. We didn't have one turnover from our point guards. That's a great sign."

BYU led by just six points, 35-29, at halftime, but exploded in the second half, outscoring Longwood, 57-31. The Cougars shot 55 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes.

Friday night's contest marked the first of two BYU home games as part of the Chicago Invitational. The second comes Tuesday (7 p.m.) when the Cougars host Prairie View A&M.

BYU coach Dave Rose would like to see Abouo's production in scoring and rebounding be a regular occurrence.

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