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BYU SQUARES OFF AGAINST NEW LOOK WYOMING

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No matter what happens in this afternoon's BYU-Wyoming basketball game, it just won't be the same.

No more Mo Alexander popping three-pointers from 35 feet, no more Reggie Slater moping about not getting the ball enough, no more wave-of-the-hand defense."They did lose a lot of people, but a lot of times that's a blessing," said BYU coach Roger Reid. "Now they have guys who really want to play."

There are only a couple of new players on this year's Cowboy team, but make no mistake, this is a different team. For one thing, before Thursday night's loss to Utah, the 'Pokes (10-7 overall, 4-4 WAC) were ranked in the top 10 in the country in field-goal percentage defense.

Wyoming coach Benny Dees said before the season that he wanted a team that passed more and played more up-tempo offense. For the past couple of seasons, the 'Pokes seemed content to sit around waiting for Slater to get open on the low post or watch Alexander let three-pointers fly.

Prior to Thursday's game, the Cowboys had six players averaging between 8.0 and 13.0 points per game in WAC play. The leader is David Murray, a 6-foot JC transfer point guard, originally from New York City.

On the BYU side, the big concern is what to do about the loss of Kevin Nixon. X-rays taken Friday revealed a recurrence of a stress fracture in his right leg.

"As soon as I stop feeling pain, I can play," Nixon said. Nixon said he hoped to be back in a week.

With Nixon out, the question is: Who starts? Reid said he doesn't want to start Jared Miller, because he's avoided fouls better by coming off the bench. He's considering Mark Durrant or Shane Knight, and is also toying with the idea of playing three guards - as he did successfully against CSU.

The game will be televised live on Channel 11 at 3 p.m.