OGDEN — Practice counts for something and, in the case of Cory Calvert and Raul Delgado, recent practices counted for a lot. Coach Dave Rose relied heavily on both players during critical stages of BYU’s 78-68 win over Weber State on Saturday night.
They both roundly responded.
With 10 minutes gone in the second half Weber State had cut BYU’s 10-point lead at the half to two at 51-49. At that point, Rose turned to Calvert and Delgado to man his backcourt, a decision that would seem curious given both players' recent spotty play in games.
However, the framework both players provided during recent practices indicated to Rose that both could be relied on.
He was proved right.
The players helped spark a 14-1 run to give BYU a 65-50 lead at the 5:58 mark and all but ended Weber State’s hopes.
“We were just trying to bring some energy,” Calvert said. “We really don’t know how much we’re going to play every game, but we just try and play as hard as we can and bring what we can to the team. Tonight we were able to help out a little bit.”
Calvert keyed the decisive run early with a 3-point make on top of the key to stretch BYU's lead to 56-49. He then capped off the run with a fast-break layup to give the team its biggest lead at 64-50.
Delgado, meanwhile, provided a couple of steals — one of which led to a breakaway layup to give BYU a 59-49 lead and force the Wildcats into a timeout.
The team also received big contributions off the bench from frontcourt players such as Agustin Ambrosino and Nate Austin. The all-around contribution from his team left Rose as optimistic as he’s been all season.
“We had so many guys play well,” Rose said. “That’s probably the best part of this win that we got so many guys involved. Hopefully we can take some confidence from this.”
Rose believes that most first-year players, such as Calvert and Delgado, have a certain hump to get over and is hopeful both are now over that hump.
“There’s a time when I think you play, especially when you’re new, to please the coaching staff and then there’s a time when you break out of that and just play like you can play,” Rose explained. “I think we saw a lot of that this week (in practice) and I’m really happy that they got minutes and they were successful minutes. It’s (something) they can really build upon.”
CARLINO STEPS UP: Sophomore point guard Matt Carlino has seemingly endured his horrific start to the season and is currently providing the good and consistent play most anticipated. Against Weber State, Rose gave him back his starting slot and he responded well.
Rose believes that consistent contributions from everyone in the backcourt is key for this team's development.
“If we can get some real solid play at that point-guard position from two or three guys I think all of them will start to play better because they won’t be thinking it’s all on them,” he said. “This is a great game for our team to get a big win and to see our team grow.”