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Cougar Nation: Rogers' versatility helps BYU

Published: Friday, Dec. 2 2011 8:31 p.m. MST

Wisconsin's Mike Bruesewitz defends against BYU's Stephen Rogers during the first half of a recent game in Illinois.

Associated Press

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PROVO — With his young team, BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose has done a lot more mixing and matching during the first month of the season than during most years.

Most experimenting with different players has been at the point guard position, but Rose is trying things elsewhere.

Take Stephen Rogers, for example. In BYU's last game against Northern Arizona, Rose used him at three different positions and gave indications that he'll be doing such things with his 6-foot-8 swingman throughout the year.

"The way that we can match him up in each game is the key for us," said Rose. "We started him at the 2-guard early, but he's really not a 2-guard, but he can play at that position if the matchup is right. We play him at the 4 sometimes when the matchup is right and we can stretch a defense, but the best matchups most nights is for us to play him at the 3 position."

One thing that Rogers brings to the team, regardless of which specific position he's playing, is instant offense.

"The most important thing that Stephen brings to our team is his ability to score," said Rose. "He's a very good perimeter shooter for his size."

ON TO OREGON: The Cougars will face off against the Oregon Ducks at EnergySolutions Arena at 3 p.m. Although it's not their home court, the players love playing there, according to Rose.

"I think our guys really enjoy it," he said. "I think our fans enjoy it — it's worked out well. It has a different feel when you play a college game in an NBA arena, and our guys are usually pretty excited to play this game."

Oregon will bring a 4-1 record with them into Saturday's game, with their only loss coming to No. 7 Vanderbilt on the road. They'll bring an up-tempo style with second-year coach Dana Altman that should pose a stiff test.

"They're a transition team that really likes to get the ball up and down the floor," Rose said. "Their post players are long, athletic and they're very active. They also have really good shooters on the perimeter — they're a good shooting team, so it should be a good matchup."

RICE'S RAVE REVIEWS: A lot was expected of former BYU assistant Dave Rice when he took the head coaching gig at UNLV, and so far, he's delivered. His Rebel team recently defeated No. 1-ranked North Carolina, a game Rose was able to watch.

"It was a great game, and I thought his kids played great down the stretch," said Rose. "I think that he has a great group of players that are returning, and he's added some pieces to it and he'll have a special year.

"That's an experienced, talented team that's been to the NCAA tournament, and now that he's added his touch to it they'll be terrific."

Cougars on the air

BYU (5-2) vs. Oregon (4-1)

Today at 3 p.m.

EnergySolutions Arena

TV: ESPNU

Radio: 1160 AM, 120.7 FM

email: bgurney@desnews.com

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