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BYU basketball: Craig Cusick, Anson Winder step into PG role

Published: Monday, Nov. 21 2011 10:09 p.m. MST

PROVO — With his team now three games into its regular season, on top of two exhibition games, BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose may have finally found the answer at the point guard position.

Junior Craig Cusick moved into the starting slot, replacing Brock Zylstra — who went back to his more natural two-guard position — with freshman Anson Winder coming off of the bench. That combination helped boost the overall play on both offense and on defense in last Friday's 92-60 victory over Longwood.

Most importantly, they didn't turn the ball over.

"Coach wants us to turn it over the least amount of times possible," said Winder. "Me and Craig (Cusick) having zero turnovers helped out a lot."

Winder wasn't readily mentioned as an option at the point guard position at the start of the season, but having experience at the spot in high school, coach Rose decided to give him a try. He approached the Las Vegas native a few weeks back and told him of his idea for the switch.

"He told me to just push the pace a little bit and get my teammates involved and so far it's worked out," said Winder.

Rose will again go with Cusick starting and Winder coming off of the bench tonight against Prairie View A&M. Zero turnovers between them is a tough stat to improve on, and if they continue taking care of the ball, Rose will likely be going with them until Matt Carlino joins the team in mid-December.

While Cusick has proved his value in taking care of the ball over the first three games, Winder was put to test for the first time against Longwood.

Through practice sessions, the coaching staff determined that he had the important essentials to play the point.

"Part of the process is that you're just trying as a coaching staff to find players that can come in and play a role," Rose said of Winder. "The most important thing for us on our guard line is that you need to be a pretty good shooter, you need to be pretty quick, you need to be fast, and Anson is all those things."

COLLINSWORTH DOUBTFUL: Center/forward Chris Collinsworth did not practice on Monday and is considered doubtful to play against Prairie View A&M. He'll be re-evaluated further and is hopeful to play this weekend in a two-day tournament in Chicago, according to Rose.

ANOTHER DIFFERENT LOOK: While Longwood was defined by its up-tempo game and undersized team, BYU expects a somewhat different Prairie View team come tonight. They'll present some good size down low and at the wing positions.

"They're a pretty good scoring team," said Rose. "They're a big, physical team. … They're really athletic, they really attack the basket. Defensively. they change things up quite a bit — they play man, they play zone, they press a little bit, so we'll see what we get."

The BYU team will leave Wednesday night, spending Thanksgiving in Chicago, prepping to take on Nevada on Friday and then either Bradley or Wisconsin on Saturday in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.

Cougars on the air

Prairie View A&M (2-2) at BYU (2-1)

Tonight, 7 p.m.

Marriott Center

TV: BYUtv

Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

email: bgurney@desnews.com

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