BYU men's basketball: Cougars get final tuneup vs. Virginia Tech
Provo • Picture BYU basketball coach Dave Rose as a chef, reducing all of his ingredients until they form a tasty, thick sauce, ready for consumption.
In the Cougars' case, Rose has one more nonconference game, Saturday against Virginia Tech at EnergySolutions Arena, to determine which of his role players will become part of a dependable rotation. And, after losses to Florida State, Notre Dame, Iowa State and Baylor, the Hokies also provide the final opportunity for BYU (9-4) to notch a victory against a quality opponent.
"Our evaluation right now is to go with guys who understand our system from top to bottom the best," Rose said Thursday night. "We've really improved the past two weeks. You saw some of that [against Northern Arizona].
"Now we'll focus our attention on Virginia Tech. Tipoff comes quick so hopefully our guys will be ready."
The Hokies (9-3) are a head-scratcher, a team with a pair of quality victories against No. 22 Oklahoma State and Iowa, but with losses to West Virginia and Georgia Southern. Tech, led by Erick Green's 25.4 scoring average, is coming off a 36-point pasting at the hands of Colorado State.
Against Northern Arizona, BYU guard Raul Delgado and forward Agustin Ambrosino, two junior college transfers, made positive strides.
"Everything is matter of time, getting used to the team and playing with each other," said Delgado, who scored his season-high 11 points against NAU, including back-to-back 3-pointers to give BYU a 38-point lead. "It's always a challenge to get [the right] chemistry. â¦ It's hard for the coaches, especially because I'm brand new to the team. [Rose] is going to see what Raul is about. What my game is about."
On Thursday, Rose started Matt Carlino, Josh Sharp and Brock Zylstra alongside Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies. It was the sixth time this season Rose used that lineup.
The 30-point victory against the Lumberjacks allowed Rose to give all of his players extended minutes.
"It gives us a chance to show possession after possession on film," Rose said. "Sometimes when they just get two or three minutes there or three or four minutes there, it's a little bit tough [to evaluate].
"The transfer guys, Raul and Agui, they both played well tonight and both earned the minutes they got. They understand the nature of the beast."
BYU vs. Virginia Tech
O At EnergySolutions Arena
Tipoff • Saturday, Noon
TV • ESPNU
Radio • 1160 AM
Records • VT 9-3, BYU 9-4
Series history • BYU 2-0
Last meeting • BYU 70-68 (Jan. 25)
About the Hokies • VT features three players with double-figure scoring averages, including Erick Green, who leads the nation at 25.4 points a game. â¦ The Hokies, coming off of a 36-point loss to Colorado State, has beaten Oklahoma State and Iowa. â¦ VT was picked to finish 10th in the ACC.
About the Cougars • Brandon Davies scored 27 points against NAU, his second straight game with more than 20 points and third in the last four games. â¦ Davies now averages 20.3 points, while Tyler Haws averages 19.3 points a game. â¦ BYU's halftime total of 48 against NAU tied the Cougars' best halftime score this season.