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Cleveland mixes players to capture different looks

Mike Rose spends a little hang time during BYU basketball's opening night Friday in Provo.
Mike Rose spends a little hang time during BYU basketball's opening night Friday in Provo.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — Michael Rose knocked down six of BYU's 19 3-point shots in an a Blue-White scrimmage Friday in the Marriott Center. The sophomore from Texas led all scorers with 20 points.

Aside from the 3-ball exhibition, three members of the Burgess family, two brothers (Josh and David) and cousin Sam combined for an impressive 36 points as head coach Steve Cleveland mixed the lineups in his squad to get different looks.

"Our team didn't approach this as a fun night. It was a situation where every play was on film and we'll be looking at it on Saturday," Cleveland said.

The coaching staff started the veterans on one blue team to open the scrimmage, putting senior Terry Nashif (eight points) at the point with Rose (20 points) at shooting guard, senior Mike Hall (eight points) at small forward, Jared Jensen (18 points) at power forward and freshman Chris Miles (seven points) at center. Ordinarily, sophomore Garner Meads (six points) would have started, but he had not practiced until Friday.

That blue team, on 3-pointers by Rose, took a 42-32 lead at the half over the white team. On that White team, the starters were freshman David Burgess at center, freshman Trent Plaisted and sophomore transfer Keena Young at the forwards with sophomore guard Jimmy Balderson at the shooting guard spot besides Austin Ainge at the point.

Then, Cleveland mixed up both squads after a brief intermission. Ainge, who went scoreless, did have seven rebounds before injuring his ankle.

"All our guards have the green light to shoot the 3 if they are open in transition," Cleveland said. "That's a strength of our team and you've got to use your strengths when you can get it."

"We'd like to get the ball in the hands of Jared. He's played two years behind Araujo and he needs to get his confidence back and while he's capable of scoring in the post, he's worked on his outside shot and I think he'll do a fine job once he feels comfortable with that."

Cleveland said his squad has a big learning curve with so many new faces.

"That's why we got a lot of looks at many combinations tonight, just as we're doing in practice every day. I'll play a lot of guys before league play before narrowing down our team into some main players, but right now I want to see as many as I can and see how they do."

Aside from Rose's game-high 20 and Jensen's 18, Josh Burgess hit some 3-pointers and notched 16 points. Freshman Plaisted had eight points and six rebounds. David Burgess had nine points and seven boards. Brock Reichner, a walk-on from Salt Lake Community College, had 11 points and three rebounds.

Cleveland wasted little time early in the evening thanking the BYU student side of the Marriott Center. "I want to thank you for your support. At the end of last year, in four important games here, we had between 8,000 to 9,000 students sitting in those seats and that made a huge difference for our team in getting some of the Marriott Center Magic here. Nobody has better student fans than we do at this school."

COUGAR NOTES: Center Derek Dawes (back) did not play in the open scrimmage and it is unknown when he will return to action. "He may be back in a week but he won't be going more than two hours in practice," Cleveland said. "He's getting therapy and it's a day-to-day thing." Ainge sprained his ankle in the first half and saw limited action after intermission. Meads (hernia) received clearance to practice on Thursday but will need to work himself back to full speed, according to Cleveland . . . The Cougars will scrimmage one more time before opening up the exhibition season on Friday against BYU-Hawaii in the Marriott Center, a game that will feature the return of former Cougar Jake Chrisman . . . Rose teamed with freshman Mallary Gillespie to win a coed shot selection tournament. Rose/Gillespie led a four-team preliminary round with 30 points and then defeated the team of Nashiff and Ambrosia Anderson 33-25 in the finals. The Cougars practiced for more than an hour on Friday prior to the exhibition scrimmage, primarily working on defense.


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com