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BYU men’s basketball notebook: Anson Winder’s defense helps lead BYU to victory

SHARE BYU men’s basketball notebook: Anson Winder’s defense helps lead BYU to victory

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Going into Saturday's game at Santa Clara, reserve guard Anson Winder knew that he would be called upon.

BYU coaches had asked Winder to use his defensive expertise against the Broncos' stable of talented guards.

"Coach told me before this game that he was going to need me to go out there and guard," Winder said. "They have a lot of good guards. I just tried to bring energy. … We guarded them well today."

Winder and the Cougars slowed down Santa Clara's offensive attack at crucial times in BYU's 82-64 triumph at Leavey Center.

"Anson was great off the bench," said coach Dave Rose. "We challenged Anson. We knew we needed him to help with those three guards. We needed his defensive presence in the game. ... He knows our stuff. He got in there, scored quick, hit a couple of free throws, got a lot of confidence. His defensive presence was really big for us. The 13 minutes he played was probably the best we've had from him this year."

"Whenever Anson can come in and provide that defensive presence like he did and get his hands on balls, he was just a big spark for our team," said Cougar guard Tyler Haws.

While Santa Clara guard Kevin Foster scored a team-high 22 points, Winder helped keep him in check, particularly at the end of the second half. Foster failed to score over the final 13 minutes.

"We didn't want him to get going. He hit some shots," Winder said of Foster. "We know that if he gets hot, along with (Evan) Roquemore and (Julian) Clarke, all those guys, it could be a long day for us. We did what we could to contain them."

Roquemore shot just 1 of 10 from the field and scored three points. Winder and Roquemore played on the same AAU team as kids in their hometown of Las Vegas.

"I've known him for a long time," Winder said. "It was good seeing him. He was one of the players we knew we needed to contain from the beginning. We couldn't let him get going. He's a great player."

In addition to playing solid defense, Winder also scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds.

Earlier in the week, Winder celebrated his 21st birthday. "You grow up a lot when you turn 21," Winder joked.

While he hasn't played as much as he would like this season, Winder's maintained a good attitude.

"Coaches have been trying to keep me upbeat," he said. "I've been talking to my family a lot. They told me to stay ready. I've been doing that every day, practicing hard, and just trying to get ready for when my number's called."

SURGING SANTA CLARA: Last season, the Broncos finished 0-16 in West Coast Conference play.

Despite Saturday's loss, they are much improved this season. Santa Clara, which is 1-3 in league games, played tough at No. 1 Duke last month and fell by just seven points at home against No. 9 Gonzaga last week.

Rose was impressed with the Broncos.

"When you go on the road, we know you're going to punch them and they're going to punch you back," he said. "This team kept responding. That little run they made coming out of halftime, our nine-point (halftime) lead was gone pretty quick. … They kept coming. It's a really good team."

HAW-SOME: Haws scored 24 points Saturday, marking the 12th game this year that he has scored at least 20 points. He's had four 20-point contests in a row.

The sophomore guard enjoyed his first visit to Leavey Center, where plenty of Cougar fans filled the stands.

"I loved it. I like this gym," Haws said. "There were lots of BYU fans supporting us. It's fun when you have that type of support. It was a fun atmosphere, a fun day."