Friday, April 18, 2014

BYU basketball report card: Prairie View A&M brings out the best in BYU (5 items)

By Nate Gagon, For the Deseret News

Dec. 12, 2013

PROVO — Well, that settles it. BYU is the greatest team of all-time.

Or, maybe the Cougars just looked that way in their 100-52 win over the Prairie View A&M Panthers Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.

One of the only real question after this game is how in the world did Texas A&M only beat the Panthers by 10 earlier this season?

Prairie View A&M was picked to finish ninth in the 10-team Southwestern Athletic Conference by SportsNetwork.com. This does not bode well for Alabama State, the only team picked behind the Panthers.

Prairie View A&M trivia buffs remember that Mr. T attended Prairie View on a football scholarship, although he was expelled after just one year. Former NFL safety Ken Houston, a 12-time Pro Bowler and member of the NFL Hall of Fame, graduated from the school after it gave him his only scholarship offer out of high school. So did Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer Charles Brown.

None of that helped Prairie View's men’s basketball team, however, as the Panthers lost to the Cougars by 48 points.

BYU outshot the Panthers 61 percent to 29 percent, made six more 3-pointers on 13 less attempts, and dominated in rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls committed.

On the bright side, Prairie View A&M outshot BYU from the foul line, 71 percent to 69 percent.

On an even brighter side, BYU didn’t play zone defense.

Here are the grades for each BYU position group and other aspects of the game.

Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a whole-hearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He can be reached at: nategagon@hotmail.com or @nategagon.

1 of 5. BYU GUARDS

The strangest stat of the night was Matt Carlino only attempting two field goals. It was nice to see Carlino recognize that the team didn’t need him to score in this game. Despite six turnovers, he did a really nice job distributing the ball to a bunch of different guys. Certainly the opponent must be factored in, but it appeared Carlino is a much better defender playing man-to-man than in the zone.

In just 20 minutes of playing time, Tyler Haws scored a whole bunch of points (19) on near flawless shooting (7-of-11) in the first few minutes of the game and then his work was pretty much done.

Kyle Collinsworth also had 19 points for the Cougars. More importantly, he didn’t have a turnover. Collinsworth continued to look uncomfortable on the foul line, hitting just 63 percent, which is actually above his season average.

The guards off the bench were effective as well in doing a nice job filling the stat line. Frank Bartley IV showed some skill as a distributor, finishing with six assists.

Grade: A

2 of 5. BYU BIG MEN

Nate Austin did a nice job in this game with 11 rebounds, eight points, four assists, four steals, zero turnovers and just one foul. He seemed to go with the flow of the game and it served him well.

Eric Mika scored 15 points in just 18 minutes, hitting 7-of-11 free throws. He also had six rebounds and three turnovers.

Luke Worthington played just nine minutes, none of which came with the game anywhere near close. He didn’t stand out in a negative or positive way in those minutes.

Grade: B

3 of 5. BYU COACHING

Coach Dave Rose switched it up and went with a man defense. While it would be foolish to put much stock in the statistics of this game, holding any opponent to 29 percent shooting is pretty solid anytime, anywhere. Here’s hoping the man-to-man sticks around.

While the temptation is to look at the score of the game and give out all A+ grades, this game was a severely wasted opportunity to get Worthington some serious playing time. The game was never in doubt. Why not put Worthington in with the score at 15-6 four minutes in to get him some meaningful minutes? Why not let him play 10-12 straight minutes there, barring a complete collapse by the team? Why not get him another 12-15 minutes in the second half? This guy, a true freshman, is your first and only big man off the bench. What better no-risk opportunity could there possibly be to put him out there, let him work up a real sweat, make a few mistakes and learn a few lessons?

It makes no sense.

There were opportunities there for other guys like Anson Winder to play more as well. Did Collinsworth really need 34 minutes in this game, which were more than double Winder’s minutes?

These things matter over the course of a season. These things help players develop and teams establish depth. This wasted opportunity was a bigger deal than the margin of victory in the game.

Grade: C-

4 of 5. PRAIRIE VIEW A&M OVERALL

Did I mention Mr. T played football at the school?

Also, the Panthers had the best player names of any opponent BYU has faced this season, and it’s not close: Hershey Robinson; Reggis Onwukamuche; Jules Montgomery; Louis Munks; Rashaan Surles; Rasi Jenkins; Patrick Agho and Tre Hagood.

Enough said.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the phrase: “Trey, no good” (as in a missed 3-pointer) was far more indicative of the kind of evening it was for the visiting team than Hagood’s name.

Grade: F

5 of 5. CROWD

One had to feel bad for Prairie View A&M when the crowd would chant “Air ball … air ball … air ball” after an air-balled shot. After the third or fourth air ball, however, the crowd seemed to lose interest.

Let’s just hope there was some father-son bonding or relationship building going on in the stands. That game was, well, you can fill in the blank as you see fit.

Grade: B+
1. trueblueBYU
Provo, UT,
Dec. 12, 2013

Saturday night should be interesting. Utah will get the chance to show that their record is not a fluke. We shall see. I'm thinking it is!

2. WisCoug
VERONA, WI,
Dec. 12, 2013

I 100% agree with your assessment of Coach Rose's personnel decisions. Winder has shown great ability, but he needs to be getting steady minutes if he is going to be a factor come conference (and possibly NCAA) tournament time. I also think that in addition to how Worthington was used it is equally surprising how few minutes this year have gone Josh Sharp's way. Still, even with these head-scratchers a C- is probably a bit harsh.

That would have to assume that more than 25% of the coach's grade comes from how effectively he works in his bench during games decided early and that he got exactly 0 of those possible points. BYU's defense was excellent, their best players stayed out of foul trouble, Carlino played within himself for the most part (no terrible shots and definitely more than 7 good passes despite ending up with 7 assists), and the team shot a few percentage points better than their season average. All things that indicate he is doing his job well and that a B or a B- at worst would be more appropriate (just my two cents).

3. idablu
Idaho Falls, ID,
Dec. 12, 2013

I, too, was bewildered by Rose not giving his bench more quality minutes, especially Sharp. The game was well in hand by the first half and putting the subs in early in the 2nd half would go a long way to improving your depth without risking the game at all. With the way the games are being officiated this year, Rose will be turning to his bench much more frequently. Why not give them as much playing time as opportunity presents.

If I were the opposing coach I would be kind of ticked Rose was so slow to play his bench….

4. Vladhagen
Salt Lake City, UT,
Dec. 12, 2013

I do think that something needs to be said for getting some of the starter experience. Mika is a true freshman, Collinsworth is just back from a mission. These guys are starters. They also used the minutes well. They were improved by them. It is a silly argument to say that Rose should have given more minutes to his bench. You cannot have the cake and eat it too.