PROVO — The BYU men’s basketball team handled business against Division II Findlay, 90-61, in its final preseason game. The contest provided a good opportunity for BYU coach Dave Rose to use a lot of players in different situations as they work to further define certain roles entering the regular season .
The Cougars got off to a sluggish start — finding themselves tied at 12-12 at the 11-minute mark. Following a timeout, Craig Cusick and Brandon Davies sparked a 15-2 run and the Cougars never looked back. Cusick hit a couple 3-pointers during the run — providing a stabilizing presence off the bench.
“We all have our roles on the team and I think my role is to come in and not necessarily slow things down, but to take care of the ball and be aggressive at the same time,” said Cusick. “I think everyone did a good job in playing their roles tonight.”
BYU extended its lead to 40-24 at the half with Davies and Tyler Haws leading the first-half scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Cusick finished the half with nine points.
Rose shook his lineup up in the second half — starting Cusick and Josh Sharp in place of Brock Zylstra and Nate Austin, which could be a precursor of things to come.
“There’s a potential for guys to get a lot of minutes one game and maybe not so many minutes the next game,” said Rose. “That’s going to be an issue we’re going to have to all deal with because I think our talent level has improved. We went with the guys in the second half that kind of got us through some of the tough parts in the first half.”
The Cougars provided a better pace in the second half and built a 62-33 lead in the first nine minutes of play. Cusick led off the second half with a 3-point basket that keyed a run featuring a lot of second-chance points.
“We had the size advantage and I think that was a big difference in our ability to score,” said Rose. “Later in the game we were able to execute better in transition and get some points.”
Haws led all scorers on the night with 19 points with Davies chipping in 14 points and 13 rebounds. Zylstra added another 14 points with Cusick adding another 12.
Davies chose to wear Chris Collinsworth’s jersey to honor his good friend and former Provo High School teammate. Collinsworth basketball career ended prior to the season due to injury.
“That’s a pretty sensitive subject because Brandon is so close to that family,” said Rose. “He talked about a lot of things to honor Chris, including switching his number to 41 at the beginning of the season. He’s pretty close to the family and he thought that this was something that he could do to honor him.”
BYU will begin the regular season taking on Tennessee State Friday at the Marriott Center.
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