After a great start where he was leading the conference in turnover-to-assist ratio, Ben Murdock has struggled against lesser talent. Against the likes of Louisville and North Carolina, Murdock was phenomenal and did not turn the ball over, but recently against lesser talent, he has struggled. I can tell you that the referees are not on Murdock's side or in his favor. After nearly every foul, turnover or anything that does not go his way, Murdock is complaining to the referees, even on calls that everyone in the stands can see.
Shooting Guard: B
Sam Burgess had a stupid foul on Davis Baker when Baker ran off a screen and shot the ball. Burgess ran into him and it turned into a three-point opportunity. Sam did shoot above 50 percent from the field, going 4-7 and 1-3 from three-point land. He did miss a wide open three at one point, after which he was disgusted and yelled loudly at himself. He ended the game with 10 points and five rebounds. He has been a much better player than I expected him to be this year, as he has contributed both offensively and defensively.
Small Forward: B
Lee Cummard played well Friday night, not as well as he did last week when he was Mountain West Conference Player of the Week, but well enough to receive a ‘B' grade. He had a tremendous backdoor pass to a slashing Jonathan Tavernari in the second half that looked like a drawn-up play. He was 3-7 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line. While Cummard was not flawless, he contributed 12 points and six rebounds on an off night when no one on the team played particularly well, other than Tavernari.
Power Forward: B+
Chris Collinsworth was a nonfactor Friday night. He had one rebound and one foul in the box score. Tavernari, however, played the best game he has played in weeks. He had 15 of his 19 points in the second half and shot 9-15 from the field. He also was 1-3 from beyond the arc. While Tavernari scored 19 points, he did turn the ball over too many times. He lost two different passes in transition that would've gone for lay-ups if he could have brought them down. Neither pass was exceptionally good, but he needed to finish.
Trent Plaisted could not get himself into a rhythm against 6-foot-7-inch Tate Sorensen. Sorensen got Plaisted into foul trouble in the second half by playing good defense and getting him to throw a shoulder into him. Plaisted only had 11 points and nine rebounds, which are good numbers for a decent big man, but much more is expected out of Plaisted, especially when going against a defender that is four inches shorter than him and has no blocking ability. Plaisted continues to struggle from the line, as he was 3-7.
The only reason that this grade is a B is because of Tavernari and his 19 points. No one else contributed to the Cougars Friday night besides Tavernari. Jimmer Fredette did not enter into the game until Sam Burgess recorded his fourth foul late, and Fredette could not get himself into sync in that short period of time. Vuk Ivanovic continues to struggle, even against talent half his size. Chris Miles has a nice move at the end of the game where he drop stepped and made a lay-up. He needs to be more of a threat inside; nearly every time he catches the ball in the post he looks to pass it and not to go to the rim. This could be because we have seen him try to force shots and turn the ball over.
Giving Coach Rose a C+ with a 15-point win at home shows how good BYU is this year and how bad Southern Utah is. SUU (2-10) was blown out by Cal State Fullerton on Monday by a score of 99-63, yet they came into the Marriott Center and made it a game. Coach Rose needs to get his team to stop turning the ball over and to get them motivated against teams of lesser talent. If the Cougars were to play against any team in the conference the way they played tonight they would lose. That is how bad they played. I have confidence in Coach Rose, and by giving him a C+ with a 15-point win shows that he has brought this program to a new level and new expectation.