Basketball notes

With the Cougars set to take on the 4-1 Oregon Ducks at Energy Solutions Arena on Saturday, Coach Dave Rose spoke to the media this week about that game and about his team. Among the other things he discussed were the play of his freshmen and how he and the staff are developing Matt Carlino.

- The Cougars have played a game (or, in the case of last year, two games) at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City during seven of the past eight seasons. A number of these have been against teams from power conferences, which rarely play BYU in the Marriott Center.

The Cougars will play a return game on Oregon's home court next year. Coach Rose said these types of games are all difficult to schedule. "You kind of like to have it where it's neutral-neutral, but in this case you get to a point where if you find a team that's interested, you just kind of just do what they want you to do so you can get the game."

Regarding Oregon's team, Rose said, "Well, they're very athletic. It's a transition team. They really like to get the ball up and down the floor, so it should be an exciting game. Their post players are long, athletic, they're very active, and then they have great shooters on the perimeter. It's a very good shooting team. It should be a really good matchup."

Oregon's third-leading scorer happens to be Johnathan Loyd, Anson Winder's former high school teammate and the brother of former Cougar Michael Loyd. He is averaging 10 points per game and is coming off of a 24-point outing against UTEP.

- On playing at Energy Solutions Arena, Rose said, "I think our guys really enjoy it. I think our fans enjoy it. It's worked out well. They've been terrific – the guys at Energy Solutions [Arena] have been terrific trying to help us during this weekend when we have our gym [occupied] with Christmas Around the World. But I think that it has a different feel than a normal college game when you play in an NBA arena. Our guys are usually pretty excited to play this game."

- Freshman Anson Winder, having recently taken over the starting point guard spot, currently has 25 assists to nine turnovers on the year. "Anson, since we started playing him at the point guard, we've been really pleased with his numbers, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is one of the best in the league," said Rose.

Rose said the coaches want Winder to keep playing on attack. Also, while Winder has done well while directing the offense, Rose said he has also been coming along defensively. "Defensively, the assignment's so different at the point than it is on the wing, but I think he's picking that up pretty well, and the more time he spends out there, I think the more comfortable he gets."

- As for BYU's other freshmen, Rose said he is looking for consistency more than anything else right now. "I think that they have all had moments where they've been really good, and what you need to do is kind of build on those moments to where they're a lot more often than not. The thing with young players is that it seems like certain matchups in certain games they can really thrive in, and then there's other times when it's a real challenge for them. The pace of the game is different, but I've been really pleased with how our guys have responded in certain situations."

- Speaking of freshmen and point guards, Matt Carlino is nearing the date in which he becomes eligible: December 17 against Baylor. Rose said that during the past two weeks they have used Carlino differently in practice than in the months prior, and will probably "crank that up a little bit" in the next 10 days or so.

"We expect Matt to play when he becomes eligible. How much and what role he'll have, we'll just have to wait to see. But we want to make sure he's totally prepared with everything that we're doing. We've used Matt since he's been here for 11 months kind of as a role player against our team, and now we need to kind of integrate him into what we do."

- Rose said that the most uncomfortable thing for injured sophomore Chris Collinsworth is that his knee just feels weak. "He's just kind of day-to-day. He's trying to figure out a way to get through a full practice with his knee feeling strong."

- Rose said he isn't surprised at all by former assistant Dave Rice's success at UNLV. The Rebels defeated No. 1 North Carolina earlier this week and are currently 8-0.

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