BYU basketball: Cougar tip-off features lots of excitement for coming season
Tom Smart, Deseret News
PROVO — The annual tip-off exhibition for BYU's basketball team included a lot of new faces, a chipped tooth, and most of all, a lot of excitement — from both fans and players — for the coming season.
Approximately 3,500 fans gathered Wednesday night at the Marriott Center and were treated to some competitive and surprisingly physical play early in a game that the white team ultimately won, 60-39.
With just seconds gone, junior center Nate Austin was hit in the mouth by freshman Luke Worthington's elbow. The hit chipped Austin's tooth. The team fortunately found the dislodged portion of the tooth, but Austin didn't return.
Josh Sharp switched over from the blue team to Austin's white team in his absence and helped his squad to a 35-34 advantage at the half. Junior Matt Carlino led the white team with 14 points and was matched by Tyler Haws, who had 14 playing for the blue team.
At the half Rose switched things up.
The scholarship players, who are expected to play this season, took on the white jerseys, while assumed scout team players formed the blue team. The move was unexpected by the players, but it seemed to work out well.
The white team started sluggish, but found a good rhythm as the half wore on.
“I think you saw the guys get better the more time they were on the floor and I thought we had a nice group in there from the 12-minute mark to the six-minute mark that made a nice run,” Rose said. “They shared the ball well and I was pleased with that. I was also pleased with the (second-half) blue team and how hard they played.”
Overall Carlino finished with 31 points and Haws added 28. True freshman Eric Mika had 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Overall Rose was pleased with his team effort, and perhaps most pleased with the players' excitement and energy.
“They were really excited in shootaround to play,” Rose said. “In the nine years I’ve been here that was the most emotional shootaround and they were ready for something different. Sometimes you don’t get that energy — the lights kind of freeze you a little bit — but our guys' effort was really good.”
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