Men's Basketball Blog

Cusick, Cougars Ready to Take on Utes

Dec 09, 2011 - Posted by Taylor Wilson at 4:11 pm | Updated: December 9, 2011 4:43 pm | Permalink

Following a big win over Weber State, the BYU men’s basketball team will head north to Salt Lake City to face off against the rival Utah Utes, their third game against an in-state opponent this season.

“I think you just get excited about an emotional rivalry game even if the two teams aren’t in the same conference,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “The preparation for this game feels pretty similar to previous years and we are excited to go up and play.”

As a former member of the Utah basketball program, junior guard Craig Cusick will bring extra emotion into the game. Cusick is coming off a season best game in which he dished out a career-best eight assists vs. Weber State.

“I think going back to your old school to play against some of your old buddies and coaches really gives you an added energy,” Cusick said. “I had a great opportunity and a great time at Utah but I am here now and am very excited for Saturday’s game.”

Although Cusick will be returning to his former school, he will not see many familiar faces on the court. There have been several changes in the Utah program since Cusick transferred, but he is familiar with at least one member of his former team.

“David Foster was my roommate when I was at Utah,” Cusick said. “Unfortunately, I think he is injured right now, so he won’t get to play. But I will still go into this game with a little extra emotion and will be ready to play.”

BYU will face the Utes Saturday at the Huntsman Center, with tipoff scheduled for 12 p.m. MST. The tipoff is the earliest of the season for the Cougars, who will be looking for their fourth-straight win. 

BYU vs. Weber State on KSL

Dec 08, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 12:25 am | Permalink

Use the links below to listen to Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant call the Weber State game on KSL.

Pregame Show

1st Half

Halftime Show

2nd Half

Postgame

Game Day: Weber State

Dec 07, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 3:31 pm | Permalink

The Cougars take on Weber State tonight at 7 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio.

This is one game you won’t want to miss as Weber State is bringing in one of its most talented teams in the past decade to the Marriott Center — a place the Wildcats have never won. BYU is 18-0 against Weber State in Provo. Weber State fans likely see this as their year as they boast the nation’s leading scorer in Damian Lillard, a 6-foot-3 guard that averages 28.2 points and has led the Wildcats to a 5-1 start. Anything about Lillard remind you of anyone?

Last season Weber State had to deal with Jimmer Fredette (the nation’s leading scoring and National Player of the Year) two games after losing Lillard to a foot injury. Wildcat coach Randy Rahe would not doubt have liked that matchup better with his star guard in the lineup.

Tonight’s game will be an interesting battle of strengths. Weber State relies on its starting guards Lillard and Scott Bamforth, who combined average 43.5 points per game and have made 38 3-pointers. Together they’re shooting 45.2 percent from three.

BYU’s offense starts with its post play with forward Noah Hartsock averaging 16.9 points per game and forward Brandon Davies adding 11.5 points per contest. Charles Abouo scores inside and out and averages 12.1 points.

Both teams are playing very well. Weber State is coming off a double-overtime win against San Jose State in which Lilard posted 41 points. The Wildcats also defeated Utah State at home and their only loss was at Saint Mary’s. BYU is coming off a 79-65 victory over Oregon at EnergySolutions Arena and put together one of its best offensive games of the season early last week in an 87-52 win over Northern Arizona.

If you can, come see the game live in the Marriott Center. If you can’t, make sure to  tune in for what should be a great in-state battle.

BYU Basketball with Head Coach Dave Rose on KSL - 12/6/11

Dec 07, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 10:41 am | Updated: December 7, 2011 11:11 am | Permalink

'BYU Basketball with Head Coach Dave Rose' made its season debut on KSL Newsradio on Tuesday, Dec. 6. With a few exceptions, the show will be broadcast live every Tuesday at 7 p.m. MST from Legends Grille through the end of the regular season.

On the debut show, Rose and Greg Wrubell discussed last week's wins over Northern Arizona and Oregon, the development of the team, Jimmer Fredette getting ready to begin his NBA career and the upcoming week of games. Team captain Brock Zylstra joined Wrubell and Rose and Rose also answered questions from the fans.

Click here to listen to the show.

Noah Hartsock reminds me of...

Dec 05, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 11:11 pm | Updated: December 6, 2011 7:52 am | Permalink

I’m going to start a sentence and I want you to finish it with the name of a BYU basketball player.

Noah Hartsock’s career path reminds me of …

Who did you come up with? If you said Keena Young, you read my mind.

Now we’re not comparing their style of play. While both could hit the mid-range jumper and were crafty inside players, the idea here is to compare their careers and the roles they played beginning with their sophomore seasons to when they emerged as leaders their senior years. Their freshman years are left out since Young transferred to BYU as a sophomore.

Sophomore Year

As sophomores, neither Young nor Hartsock were big-time scorers but both played key roles. Both were fifth on the team in scoring and both players led their respective teams in rebounding.

Stats Season Starts Min/G Ppg Rpg
Young 2004-05 15 22.2 7.3 5.6
Hartsock 2009-10 30 24.4 6.5 5.1

Junior Year

Young’s junior year marked Dave Rose’s first year as head coach. Young was third in scoring and second in rebounding while helping the Cougars improve from nine wins the year prior to 20 wins in 2005-06. Hartsock’s junior year saw BYU win a program-best 32 games and earn a trip to the Sweet 16. He was fourth on the team in scoring and second in rebounding. Their scoring and rebounding rankings were similar and both were a part of important seasons in BYU’s history — Young as a member of Rose’s first season and Hartsock a member of BYU’s first Sweet 16 run in 30 years.

Stats Season Starts Min/G Ppg Rpg
Young 2005-06 14 23.4 10.3 5.8
Hartsock 2010-11 36 29.7 8.6 5.9

Senior Year

This to me is where it gets interesting. While it would have been logical to expect both players to play a bigger role as seniors, neither player was the leading returning scorer on his respective team. But Young took his game to a new level while Hartsock is in the middle of a great senior campaign.

Young was the second leading-returning scorer behind Trent Plaisted, who was coming off a freshman All-America campaign. Many thought Plaisted would be the star but Young was dominant, leading the team in scoring and rebounding while shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 80.3 percent from the free throw. Young was named MWC Player of the Year and led BYU to 25 wins and the MWC regular season title.

Eight games in, Hartsock is demonstrating consistency, leadership and productivity all fueled by a great competitive nature and will to win. While there was no question his point totals would see an increase with the departure of Jimmer and Jackson, he has taken his game to a new level, nearly doubling his scoring average while his minutes have only gone up 2.4 per game. He’s also second on the team in rebounding and shooting 57.8 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from three and 81.3 percent from the free throw line.

Stats Season Starts Min/G Ppg Rpg
Young 2006-07 34 28.9 17.4 6.6
Hartsock 2011-12 8 32.1 16.9 6.3

One other parallel that I notice is the patience displayed by both players. Like most Division I athletes, Young and Hartsock were big-time high school athletes whose roles changed drastically when they got to college. Both went to work, helped their teams by filling a role and improved their games. When the opportunity presented itself to step into a bigger role to help their teams, both were ready to accept the challenge.

BYU vs. Oregon on KSL

Dec 03, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 11:16 pm | Permalink

Use the links below to listen to Mark Durrant and Russell Larson call the Oregon game on KSL.

Pregame Show

1st Half

Halftime Show

2nd Half

Cougars at ESA

Dec 03, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 10:52 pm | Permalink

With Saturday’s 79-65 win over Oregon, the Cougars are now 7-2 at EnergySolutions Arena in regular season games. BYU went 3-2 in what was then the Delta Center in the WAC Tournament in 1993 and 1994.

The first game (2003) was perhaps the most memorable as the Cougars defeated an Oklahoma State team that advanced to the 2004 NCAA Final Four. Rafael Araujo had a dominant performance as he posted a monster double-double with 32 points and 17 rebounds.

Last season Jimmer Fredette gave Cougar fans a performance to remember, scoring 33 points in an 87-65 win over Arizona, one of his many 30-point games on his way to leading the nation in scoring and capturing national player of the year honors.

Noah Hartsock added a memorable performance to BYU’s history at EnergySolutions Arena. Against Oregon, the senior forward from Bartlesville, Okla., scored a career-best 23 points to go with 12 rebounds, two assists and four blocks.

Year Opponent Score Result
2003 Oklahoma State 76-71 W
2004 Washington State 46-49 L
2005 Lamar 97-74 W
2007 Michigan State 61-68 L
2008 Utah State 68-63 W
2009 San Francisco 69-43 W
2010 Hawaii 78-57 W
2010 Arizona 87-65 W
2011 Oregon 79-65 W

 

BYU vs. Northern Arizona on KSL

Nov 30, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 2:23 pm | Updated: December 3, 2011 11:17 pm | Permalink

Use the links below to listen to Greg Wrubell and Brian Santiago call the Northern Arizona game on KSL.

Pregame Show

1st Half

Halftime Show

2nd Half

Postgame

I'll Have One of Everything

Nov 30, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 1:49 pm | Updated: November 30, 2011 1:51 pm | Permalink

A year after graduating the greatest guard tandem in BYU history, the contributions post players Brandon Davies and Noah Hartsock cannot be understated so far this season. Hartsock leads the Cougars in scoring (16.8 per game), blocks (2.0) and minutes (32.3), is second in rebounding (5.7), third in steals (1.0) and fourth in assists (2.0). Davies is third in scoring (12.0), rebounding (5.5) and assists (2.7) and second in blocks (1.0) and steals (1.2).

In fact, Davies and Hartsock are both averaging at least 1.0 in every major statistical category (points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals), something that has been done over a full season only twice in BYU history — both times by Russell Larson. In 1993-94, Larson’s junior season, he averaged 19.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.4 steals. As a senior, Larson averaged 17.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals.

With 25-plus games remaining this season, it’s impossible to predict if their averages will hold up. But if they do, they’ll join pretty elite company next to Larson.

*It's only fair to note that blocks, steals and assists were not tracked when Cougar greats such as Kresimir Cosic, Mel Hutchins, Dick Nemelka, John Fairchild and others played. They very well could have been included with Larson but we'll never know.

BYU vs. Wisconsin and Opportunities

Nov 26, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 2:55 pm | Permalink

First off, for those hoping to watch the game (BYU vs. Wisconsin) tonight, it is on the Big Ten Network. If you're trying to find the Big Ten Network, use its ChannelFinder or visit http://btn.com/about/btn-channelfinder/

You can also listen to Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant call the action on KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM or on KSL.com. For a list of all the options to follow the game, visit the GameDay page. Tipoff is at 7 pm CST.

While it's early in the 2011-12 college basketball season, the early part of BYU's season has been defined by the word opportunity. Coming off a 2010-11 season in which the Cougars set numerous program records, advanced to the Sweet 16 and saw an all-time great lead the nation in scoring and be named National Player of the Year (I'm talking about Jimmer Fredette in case you were wondering), there were a lot of questions among fans and the media about this team.

Who would pick up the scoring slack? Who would run the point? Where would the leadership come from? Several Cougars have taken advantage of the opportunity of increased playing time and leadership roles and have begun to answer some of those questions.

Noah Hartsock has taken the opportunity to prove that he can be a consistent scorer as he's scored in double figures every game, hit shots inside, midrange and from deep, and leads the team at 16.6 points per game. Charles Abouo is proving that he can fill the role of an all-around player, averaging 14.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting a blistering 68.8 percent from three. Brandon Davies has taken the opportunity to prove he can be an even bigger lowpost threat than last season (12.6 points per game) while also being a facilitator (3.0 assist per game).

Maybe more than anyone else, Anson Winder has taken advantage of an opportunity given him by the coaching staff and flourished. After not playing at Utah State, and playing only two minutes against BYU-Hawaii, Dave Rose inserted the redshirt freshman at point guard against Longwood and Prairie View A&M and he proceeded to score 19 points and dish out nine assists in 46 minutes. He got his first start vs. Nevada at the Chicago Invitational and played 38 minutes, scored nine points and totaled four boards, four assists and four steals. Aside from the stats, Anson created numerous transition opportunities, broke the Nevada press and defended well against the Wolfpack guards.

Tonight will be another opportunity for the Cougars as they take on preseason All-America point guard Jordan Taylor and No. 11 Wisconsin in the Chicago Invitational Challenge Championship game at 7 p.m. CST at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The game will be a great opportunity for BYU to play against one of the best teams and players in the country and for several players to further emerge in the new roles they've been given and claimed in this young season.