BYU basketball: Cougars need other reserves to step up without Brock Zylstra
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Zylstra injured his ankle in the first half of last weekend's win at Portland, but trainers taped the ankle at halftime, and he played most of the second half. However, Zylstra did not practice Thursday and he is not expected to practice Friday. He is listed as "questionable" for Saturday.
Zylstra averages 8.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season.
If Zylstra, who has been coming off the bench the last two games, can't play, coach Dave Rose said it will be up to other reserves to step up.
"Everybody will get a chance. That's kind of what happens," he said. "Guys who match up the best and play the best will get the most minutes."
Meanwhile, forward Stephen Rogers, who has missed five of the last six games due to a knee injury, could be out for at least a couple of more weeks, Rose said, as a recent MRI revealed a bruise on Rogers' knee.
Rogers underwent knee surgery in mid-December, then was sidelined for six consecutive games. He saw limited action in the next four games before re-injuring his knee at San Diego.
Rogers played three minutes against Saint Mary's on Jan. 28 and hasn't been on the floor since.
BYE WEEK: Without a mid-week game, the Cougars spent plenty of time practicing this week, trying to improve.
"We got a lot of shots up. The guys have worked really hard at what we can do individually to make our team better," Rose said. "It's been real competitive. This group has made real progress, especially the last two weeks, and hopefully we can keep getting better."
Guard Anson Winder said having a little break from games has "definitely helped with school. We've missed a lot of school lately. We've been a little behind. Overall, just resting in our bodies, this break has been good. Now, we're ready to go."
"We're excited for this game (against Pepperdine), especially after a week off," said senior forward Noah Hartsock. "We're ready to start playing."
ALL-SWAT TEAM: Hartsock has 164 career blocks, which is No. 4 all-time in Cougar history. He needs just three more to surpass Russell Larson (166) for the No. 3 spot. Greg Kite is No. 1 (208), followed by Shawn Bradley (177).
Was Hartsock a shot-blocker in high school?
"In high school, I was a lot taller than most people, so that really helped," Hartsock said.
Did he expect to block so many shots in his college career?
"It just kind of happened. A little bit every year," he said. "It's a credit to growing up, I had a knack for blocking shots."
NOT SHOOTING STRAIGHT: It's been well-documented that in its last six games, BYU has made just 17-of-101 from 3-point territory.
"I believe that any player who gets himself into a situation where they're maybe not as efficient as they want to be, that you spend more time, repetition," Rose said. "You believe the next one is going in. What we really dwell on is the ones we've made. It's the way we play. We'll make a lot more."
"We get in the gym and shoot as many shots as possible," said Winder. "We'll keep shooting. We never think we're going to miss when we shoot. Everybody out here can shoot the ball."
NOT SLUMPING: Unlike most of his teammates, guard Craig Cusick has not been in a 3-point shooting slump.
In fact, in league games, Cusick ranks first in the WCC in 3-point shooting percentage. In WCC play, Cusick has hit 12-of-19 from 3-point range (63 percent). He drilled nine of his first 10 attempts and was 2-of-4 last weekend at Portland from beyond the arc.
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