Provo • Along with trying to find a suitable replacement at point guard for Jimmer Fredette, at least until UCLA transfer Matt Carlino becomes eligible in mid-December, the BYU basketball team is also searching for its trademark free-throw accuracy.
Through three games, BYU is shooting just 64.3 percent from the free-throw line (45 of 70), a clip that might be acceptable at some places, but not in Provo, where Cougar teams have traditionally been among the nation's leaders in that category.
"The more games we play, the more comfortable [players] feel," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "But I think that one thing I would really like to improve on is taking advantage of opportunities at the foul line. I think that we are a good free-throw shooting bunch. But we need to do it in a game, as a team."
The Cougars (2-1) play host to Prairie View A&M on Tuesday night at the Marriott Center (7 p.m., BYUtv) and can probably get away with the off-target freebies against the 2-2 Panthers, but not this weekend when they travel to the Chicago Invitational to take on Nevada on Friday and either Wisconsin or Bradley on Saturday at the Sears Centre.
Better free-throw shooting "will come," said guard Craig Cusick. "There are too many good shooters on this team for it not to."
The primary culprit is Charles Abouo (12 of 20), but reserves Anson Winder and Josh Sharp, both 2 of 5 from the stripe, are also dragging down the percentages.
Rose said the same five guys who started Friday in the 92-60 win over Longwood will start against Prairie View: Noah Hartsock, Brandon Davies, Abouo, Cusick and Brock Zylstra.
But although Cusick has replaced Zylstra as the starter at point guard, the position is still wide open and the 6-3 Winder, a redshirt freshman, showed Friday that he is able to play the spot as well.
Prairie View A&M at BYU
P At the Marriott Center, Provo
Tipoff • 7 p.m. MST
TV • BYUtv
Radio • 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
Records • BYU 2-1, Prairie View A&M 2-2
Series history • First meeting
About the Cougars • Coach Dave Rose said the starting five will be Charles Abouo, Noah Hartsock, Brandon Davies, Brock Zylstra and Craig Cusick. â¦ Backup F Chris Collinsworth is doubtful with a sore knee. â¦ They head to Chicago on Friday for a Chicago Invitational game against Nevada.
About the Panthers • They are coming off a 60-47 loss at Nevada on Sunday. â¦ They are averaging 65.5 ppg. and giving up just 52.8 ppg. â¦ They are led in scoring by 6-foot-6 guard Jourdan Demuynck, who is averaging 10.5 ppg.