BYU basketball: No. 23 Cougars settling into a regular rotation

Published: Monday, Nov. 22 2010 11:00 p.m. MST

PROVO — The No. 23 BYU Cougars have already used a variety of lineups and combinations in their three victories this season, but coach Dave Rose likes how his team is shaping up.

He's also close to settling on a regular rotation.

"We feel really comfortable with a certain group of guys, and what we need to do is expand that to get into the position that we want to be in," Rose said.

Right now it looks like BYU's starters are pretty solid with Jackson Emery and Jimmer Fredette at guards, Charles Abouo at small forward, and Chris Collinsworth and Noah Hartsock playing the power forward and center positions.

First off the bench is freshman Kyle Collinsworth, who has played the point and both wing positions. Spelling the front-line players are centers James Anderson and Brandon Davies. Also, senior Logan Magnusson has been getting more minutes this season off the bench, and newcomer Stephen Rogers has been getting time at both forward positions.

To rest the backcourt's main three, Rose has been calling on Brock Zylstra and Nick Martineau.

"Consistency is what we'll really look for here in the next two or three weeks, and obviously the schedule gets tougher from here," Rose said.

By starting both Chris Collinsworth and Hartsock, who many expected to share time at power forward, the Cougars have been going long stretches without a true center on the court. But so far, Chris Collinsworth and Hartsock have proven to be a potent combo that seems to complement each other's game well.

"We've got pretty good depth in the post, but we need to get some real consistency out of that position," Rose said.

That is where Davies, Anderson and Magnusson enter the picture. In Saturday's blowout of Chicago State, all three played a lot of minutes.

"I thought our post guys were really good," Rose said.

Davies, who hasn't yet shown the same promise he finished last season with, showed noticeable improvement in a bigger role on Saturday — grabbing six rebounds and scoring 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting.

"I went back to making simple moves," Davies said. "In earlier games, I tried to get ahead of myself instead of letting the game come to me, and I felt like I tried to play more solid and not force as many things as I did in the past."

With the starting five set, the next few games will likely determine which players will emerge as Rose's primary reserves. Tonight, in Game 2 of the South Padre Island Invitational, the Cougars host Mississippi Valley State at the Marriott Center. On Friday afternoon, they play South Florida on South Padre Island, and then finish up the tournament with either Saint Mary's or Texas Tech on Saturday.

"It should be a good test for us. This is a good little run that we have here," Rose said.

ABOUT THE DELTA DEVILS: Mississippi Valley State is coming off an 87-52 road loss on Sunday to Saint Mary's. The Delta Devils have also lost road games to Indiana and Georgia, but they took Georgia right down to the wire before losing 72-70. D'Angelo Jackson leads the Devils in scoring at 10 ppg., followed by Jason Holmes' nine points and eight rebounds.

RANKINGS WATCH: Even with two wins last week, the Cougars remained at No. 23 in the latest Associated Press Top 25. They are, however, creeping closer to being ranked in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, sitting at No. 26 as the first team on the outside looking in.

Cougars on the air

BYU (3-0) vs. Mississippi Valley State (0-3)

Today, 7 p.m.

Marriott Center

TV: BYUtv Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

e-mail: jimr@desnews.com

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