HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — In his first career start, redshirt freshman Anson Winder got BYU off to a fast start in Friday's 76-55 victory over Nevada at the Sears Centre.
Winder scored nine points to go along with four assists and four steals. His aggressive style was the reason coach Dave Rose started him over Craig Cusick, and Winder's play was key in the Cougars' win.
"They're different (players)," Rose explained. "Craig is really good at being solid, strong and getting us into our offense. Anson attacks a little bit more. A lot of that had to do with getting off to a different start. We wanted to attack them early and we got off to a good start. It gave everybody a lot of confidence."
BYU led 24-6 midway through the first half during a stretch that saw Winder go strong to the hoop. Later, Winder, who played a career-high 38 minutes, helped the Cougars break Nevada's halfcourt pressure.
"That's the way coach told me to play," Winder said. "I try to bring that to the court every day."
"I thought (Winder) was terrific. It was a tough night to be thrown in there because you knew they were going to press," Rose said. "They've got a man-to-man press and two different zone traps they run at you. But I thought he handled it really well. He really helped us because he just kept pushing it. He played on attack and got the ball in operational areas so we could run our offense."
Winder was thrilled about getting his first start.
"It's a good feeling," he said. "Even as a little kid, you always want to start for a big Division I team. It's a dream come true. I'm happy."
How did he assess his performance?
"I think I did alright. I had a couple of turnovers that I really didn't like," he said. "But overall, it was a good team win."
Winder missed all four of his 3-point attempts, but he hit 4-of-9 shots overall from the floor.
"He did a great job. He's getting better and better. He's starting to get his confidence," said guard Charles Abouo. "It's good to see him play like that because he really helped us. Our young guys did a great job when they were called upon, and he's no different."
BYU started the season with Brock Zylstra at the point, then Rose turned to Cusick. For the time being, the job belongs to Winder.
"He did a great job for us," Hartsock said. "We're still trying to figure out that position right there. I think Anson did a great job for us. He played hard, took care of the ball and was the motor that really helped us get going."
Things get tougher on Saturday, when BYU faces No. 11 Wisconsin. The Badgers boast senior guard Jordan Taylor, a preseason second-team All-American and national player of the year candidate.
"I watched him last year and a little bit this year," Winder said of Taylor. "I heard he's up for player of the year candidate. It will be a good test for us."
ROSE KNOWS BO: Rose said he has gotten to know Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan over the years.
"I had a conversation with him at the hotel (Thursday) night," Rose said. "I told him how good I thought his team was and how excited he must be to coach this group. He says, 'We've played three home games.' That was his response to me."
FAMILIAR FACES: BYU guard Damarcus Harrison's parents, Derek and Wanda, made the trip from South Carolina for Friday's game. So did Damarcus' older brother, D.J., who is serving a mission in the Chicago area. D.J. sat next to his parents and his missionary companion.
The Harrison clan watched Damarcus score four points, all in the game's waning moments. He played a total of eight minutes.
NO BYUTV: While the BYU-Nevada game was televised on BYUtv Friday, the Big Ten Network holds the broadcast rights for Saturday's BYU-Wisconsin tilt.
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