Provo • For the first time since a lopsided loss to Baylor on Dec. 21, BYU basketball coach Dave Rose altered his starting lineup on Saturday night as the Cougars faced red-hot Santa Clara at the Marriott Center.
The tinkering worked, as BYU took a 96-79 win over the Broncos, who hadn’t lost since falling 82-64 to BYU three weeks ago and entered the game on a five-game winning streak.
Rose went with sophomore Anson Winder at the shooting guard spot, and moved Brock Zylstra to the four (power forward). He brought Josh Sharp, who had started 11 straight games, off the bench.
Is the change temporary?
"We will take a look at it," Rose said. "But mainly it was for this game. We thought that we wanted to create a little more space inside, get Brock on the perimeter, and maybe that would create some more space for Brandon [Davies] in the post."
Sharp entered the game with 12 minutes, 38 seconds remaining in the first half when another sub, Nate Austin, picked up his second foul. He promptly scored 12 points in the half, keeping the game close when Santa Clara seemingly couldn’t miss from the outside.
Winder didn’t take a shot, and played just 12 minutes, but he was effective defensively on SCU’s Kevin Foster, one of the top scorers in the league. Foster had 18 points, but was just 6 for 18 from the field.
"How we go forward, we will take a look at San Diego, and we will figure it out," Rose said. "I think our guys are really dialed in to nine guys that could probably start if we wanted them to. Now we just gotta figure out what works the best for our group each night."
Although Davies didn’t have a lot of room inside to operate in the first half, the Cougars eventually loosened up SCU’s defense by making 3 of 6 3-point attempts in the second half.
"They clogged it up on him pretty good," Rose said. "They did a good job on him, making it tough on him. They fouled him and he had to score most of his points in the first half from the free-throw line."
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