The Cougars average 15 turnovers a game this season. To express to you how sloppy this game was, BYU had 19 turnovers in the first half and 29 in the game overall. Both Michael Loyd and Ben Murdock had three turnovers apiece. The point guard position produced seven assists, including an alley-oop assist from Loyd to Lee Cummard for the second straight game. Murdock and Loyd need to take charge and show leadership in a game when the Cougars were turning the ball over so frequently.
Shooting Guard: B-
Sam Burgess contributed seven points, five assists and two rebounds in 24 minutes of play. He shot 3-7 from the field but failed to hit a three-pointer, going 0-3 from beyond the arc. As one of the captains of the team, Burgess needs to take some leadership and help the team to not turn the ball over and be so sloppy.
Small Forward: A-
If Cummard did not have five turnovers, I would have given him an 'A' grade, but leading the team in turnovers hurts his grade. Other than the turnovers, he was exceptional. He had another electrifying alley-oop dunk, as well as a coast-to-coast dunk. He continues to shoot the ball exceptionally well, as he was 10-12 from the field and 1-1 from three-point land, and ended the game with 21 points. He also had five assists, four blocks and six rebounds. After a couple tough games where he was in foul trouble, Cummard played exceptionally this past week. He only had one foul on Saturday as he guarded some very talented Pepperdine freshmen.
Power Forward: C
Chris Collinsworth started for the second consecutive time as Jonathon Tavernari came off the bench. Collinsworth contributed six points, four rebounds and two assists while committing four turnovers in 22 minutes. Collinsworth must contribute more on the glass if he is going to be a contributing starter. It is nice to have a guy like Tavernari come off the bench for Coach Rose, but if Collinsworth is not contributing as the starter, then Tavernari needs to return to the starting lineup. I expect to see Tavernari back in the starting lineup in the next couple of games, but he really needs to regain the confidence that we saw from him against Louisville. He is a good shooter, but his field goal percentage has been awful lately. Saturday was another rough night for him from the field, as he shot 4-12 and 2-8 from behind the arc.
While Plaisted was far too dominate for the Pepperdine Waves, recording 18 points and 18 rebounds, he did not make a free-throw in five attempts, and until he shoots better from the free-throw line I will not give him an 'A' grade. If any skeptics still believe that Plaisted has not improved from last season, they need to come watch him play, because he has flat-out dominated the post all season long, even against two top-10 teams and Louisville (which was No. 6 at the time the Cougars beat the Cardinals, but is no longer in the top 10). Without Plaisted, the Cougars lose a couple more games this season and would be getting no national respect. Trent is one of the best big men in the country and could be the most athletic big man in the country.
The Cougars' bench continues to be outscored by that of their opponents. On Saturday, BYU's bench had 27 points, including 10 from former starter Tavernari, while the Waves had 31 points from their bench. Vuk Ivanovic had two turnovers in six minutes of play and scares me every time that he comes into the game. Loyd gave some good minutes, as he created some momentum by throwing another great alley-oop pass to Cummard. Jimmer Fredette had five points in 14 minutes. Coach Rose must find a viable back-up for Plaisted, as Chris Miles and Ivanovic are simply not getting the job done.
It's hard to give a coach anything less than a ‘B' for a grade when your team wins by 19 points, but this game was simply ugly. The 19 turnovers in the first half simply cannot happen, and the team improved by having 11 in the second half, which is still only four less than the Cougars typically average in a full game. I like having Tavernari come off the bench, but Collinsworth is going to have to contribute to allow that scenario to continue to work well.
Up Next: Roger Reid, Austin Ainge and the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Friday, December 21 at 6:30 pm at the Marriott Center