BYU basketball report card: Winder steps up as Cougars rout Broncos
Nate Austin and Josh Sharp were efficient and effective in what they were asked to do. They combined for six points on 3-of-3 shooting and 13 rebounds with no turnovers.
Essentially the Cougar bigs had two jobs that mattered at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara — rebound the basketball and try to play defense. They came through on the glass as BYU outrebounded the Broncos 36-27.
Defense was a slightly different story. Despite the positive outcome and overall tremendous effort for the Cougars, the big men were often slow and lost defensively. Fortunately for them, Santa Clara didn’t have the personnel to take advantage very often.
The Cougar coaching was a mixed bag in this game.
The results on the court were generally outstanding. BYU did a nice job of mixing up its defensive looks, and the team played much better than it did against San Francisco, despite only a three-point difference in final margin of victory between the two games.
As has been shown this season, however, the Cougars are a streaky team shooting the basketball. They will not shoot 64 percent from behind the arc and 60 percent overall very often. They will also play a lot of teams that are much stronger than Santa Clara in the post. So, while the Cougars deserve to feel great about their victory, they need to stay humble and teachable and realize there is still a lot of room for improvement.
There’s no way of sugar coating it — Winder deserved to play more in the second half. How does a guy step up huge when his team needs him and play a tremendous half of basketball and then sit the bench the entire second half? The coaches had a chance to build Winder’s confidence by showing a little faith in him in the second half and they failed in that regard.
Additionally, there have been multiple times this season when the Cougars have had big leads in the second half and Rose refused to use those opportunities to get other guys minutes. Has Frank Bartley IV really fallen so far that he can’t even get off the bench when BYU has a 20-point lead? How about Luke Worthington? What if a big guy gets injured again, like Mika did and Worthington is forced to play?
The Cougar coaches have missed opportunities to build players’ confidence and it has cost them in some games already.
SANTA CLARA OVERALL
If the Saint Mary’s team was watching Santa Clara get blown off its home court by BYU, it surely must have stung. How did the Gaels lose to those Broncos at home nine days ago?
Santa Clara is now 3-5 in conference play after losing its third straight game. Leading scorers Jared Brownridge and Brandon Clark got hot late to finish with a combined 50 points and make the final score a lot closer than the game actually was.
The Broncos were without senior guard Evan Roquemore who averages 11.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists. What they needed to beat BYU Saturday night, however, was far better post play to take better advantage of BYU’s deficiencies.
Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free-throw line and can be reached at: email@example.com or @nategagon.
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