BYU basketball: Freshman quintet looks forward to postseason action after playing key roles

Published: Thursday, March 1 2012 7:00 p.m. MST

Winder, who has started the last seven games, has hit crucial shots and made big defensive plays for the Cougars. Harrison has had an up-and-down freshman campaign, but has shown flashes of his potential. Austin and Sharp provide depth in the post. The 6-foot-10, 215-pound Austin has been a key contributor as a rebounder, defender and a scorer.

While this is his first foray into the postseason, Austin said his mindset is the same as it was at the start of the year.

"I'll try to go in and make positive plays for my team and hopefully get a win," he said. "We've got to get some wins to get into the NCAA Tournament probably. For me, that's all that matters, to help the team to win."

The Cougars, Austin added, have been playing with a sense of urgency for the past month.

"I think it's been that way since we lost to Saint Mary's the second time," he said. "Either we need to turn it around or we won't reach our goals. Since that game, our team has stepped up in practice and in games. This is it. We can't afford to lose."

For BYU to survive and advance in a tournament setting, the freshmen will need to continue making a positive impact.

"It's a great group — a lot of contributors as freshmen," Carlino said. "I think the whole country has moved in that direction. A lot of freshmen contribute early now. You look at our whole conference, and it's mainly all freshmen and sophomores. We're excited for this all being our first postseason playing together. We're looking forward to maturing as a group."

San Diego advances to play BYU

LAS VEGAS No. 6 San Diego throttled No. 7 Pepperdine, 76-54, at the Orleans Arena in the second round of the West Coast Conference Tournament Thursday night.

With the victory, the Toreros advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face No. 3 BYU Friday night (9 p.m. MST, ESPNU).

Freshman guard Johnny Dee scored a career-high 30 points, including six 3-pointers, to lead San Diego, which improved to 13-17 on the season.

The Cougars swept San Diego in the regular season. They defeated the Toreros in Provo, 88-52, on Dec. 31, and downed them in San Diego, 82-63, on Jan. 16.

Dee scored a total of 14 points against BYU in the two previous meetings.

Pepperdine finished its season with a 10-19 record.

WCC Tournament

San Diego (13-17, 7-9) vs. BYU (24-7, 12-4)

Friday, 9 p.m. MT

Orleans Arena, Las Vegas


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email: jeffc@desnews.com

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