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BYU basketball looking to improve defense, rebounding

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 29 2011 11:42 p.m. MST

Wisconsin's Mike Bruesewitz (31) defends against BYU's Stephen Rogers during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Associated Press,

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PROVO — Coming out of the Chicago Invitational Challenge, which ended with a loss to Wisconsin, BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose wants his team to "D-up."

More specifically, he wants his team to play defense for longer than 20 seconds.

"It takes some real discipline to get better defensively as the shot clock gets deeper," said Rose. "It seemed as if we played our best defense (against Wisconsin) the first four or five passes and our worst defense the last drive or the last pass … hopefully we'll learn from that and get better."

Getting better on any aspect starts with practice and film study. Monday saw Rose direct a very physical and intense practice session as he's trying to instill a certain defensive style within his players.

The practice saw such players as Noah Hartsock and Stephen Rodgers unable to finish the session due to a turned ankle and a twisted knee, respectively, that Rose attributed to the increased intensity.

"We weren't standing around, we were flying around," said Rose following practice. "We were kind of anticipating the next pass and defensively we were very good. Offensively we weren't real good, but our effort was good."

Hartsock and Rodgers aren't expected to miss the Cougars' next game tonight against Northern Arizona.

Another facet that Rose is working on with his team is rebounding out of a zone defense, which has proven to be a challenge, particularly against Wisconsin.

While it's the frontcourt players that are usually expected to handle the rebounding responsibilities, Rose believes the key is with his backcourt.

"We have some real issues (with rebounding) and we need to get our guards more involved," he assessed. "Our big guys tend to get tied up with the big players and it's always hard to get a body on someone and to go get the ball, so most teams will send a guard or two back and get down the court early, so those guys are free and they need to get more involved."

COLLINSWORTH STILL AILING: Chris Collinsworth was able to practice this week, but only on a limited basis. Rose indicated that he will travel with the team, but that he's doubtful to play against Northern Arizona.

"The time that he did practice-he felt a lot better than the last time he was out here, so that's a good sign," said Rose.

LINING UP AGAINST THE LUMBERJACKS: BYU will take on a 2-4 Northern Arizona team tonight that has been going through some of the same growing pains as Rose's young team in the early season.

"They have a young team, having lost a bunch of guys from last year," said Rose. "So we're similar in that way. We're both trying to figure out who will play, we're trying to figure out who will be the most consistent players, but I think they're a team that is really going to screen you hard, take good shots, and their defense is going to be really solid."

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

COUGARS ON THE AIR

BYU (4-2) at

Northern Arizona (2-4)

Tonight, 7:05 p.m.

Tim's Toyota Center, Prescott, Ariz.

TV: BYUtv

Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

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