Provo • College basketball exhibition games are all about discovery before the regular season begins, and in that regard BYU coach Dave Rose and the 9,032 fans at the Marriott Center on Saturday night found out the 2013-14 Cougars are still a lot like last year’s version.
Well, in some areas, anyway.
They still don’t shoot especially well from the outside, but it appears they’re better equipped to keep opponents from raining 3-pointers on them.
Playing better man-to-man defense than in their exhibition opener — an offseason priority — and using a massive rebounding advantage, the Cougars pounded Alaska Anchorage 99-68 in their second and final exhibition game, the last tuneup before Friday’s season and home opener against Weber State.
“I thought our guys were pretty dialed in tonight,” coach Dave Rose said when it was noted that UNLV and former BYU assistant coach Dave Rice were stunned Friday by Dixie State College in a similar matchup between a strong western program and an upper-level NCAA Division II squad.
Rose preached communication on defense in practice all week, and the Cougars got the message loud and clear. The Seawolves made just 8 of 34 3-point attempts (23.5 percent) and shot just 32.9 percent from the field.
“That was a big emphasis, so coach was proud of us,” said guard Kyle Collinsworth, noting that the only way UAA could have pulled off a similar upset was hot 3-point shooting.
BYU won the rebounding battle, 69-29, and outscored the visitors 68-20 in the paint. BYU had 32 second-chance points.
The Cougars were just 2 of 15 from 3-point range themselves, missing their last five attempts in garbage time. Rose said he still believes there are enough good shooters on the squad to get better in that area, but believes this is more of a dribble-penetration team with Collinsworth, Matt Carlino, Skyler Halford and Tyler Haws excelling at attacking the rim.
Carlino was especially effective doing that in the first half, and finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, all defensive, in just 24 minutes.
Rose changed his starting lineup from last week, going with Nate Austin inside and freshman Frank Bartley IV on the perimeter, in place of Eric Mika and Anson Winder. Haws, Carlino and Collinsworth started for the second straight exhibition game and will obviously be the constants this year, gobbling up the most starts and minutes.
“There are eight or nine guys we could start,” said Rose, likely to tinker with his starting lineup for three or four more games.
Mika “responded really well to his assignment coming off the bench,” Rose said, after the freshman posted a double-double — 17 points and 14 rebounds — in 17 minutes.
Collinsworth (14) and Haws (13) also reached double figures, although Haws started slowly for the second straight game and got into early foul trouble, a rarity for him.
Travis Thompson led UAA with 14 points; Teancum Stafford, the former Snow College star, picked up three fouls in the first half and finished with just five points on 2-of-8 shooting. Bingham High product Brad Mears had four points and three rebounds, and former Jordan High forward Jacob Craft was 1 of 4 for three points.
O BYU outrebounds Alaska Anchorage 69-29, holds a 68-20 advantage in points in the paint, and gets 32 second-chance points.
• The Cougars’ defense limits the Seawolves to 32.9 percent shooting from the field and 23.5 percent from 3-point range.