PROVO — Things were looking quite dire for the BYU men's basketball team late against Portland on Saturday. But then Davin Guinn happened.
Those who have been paying attention have probably noticed the 6-foot-5 transfer out of UC Riverside logging more minutes — particularly when the Cougars go into a 1-3-1 zone defensively. Guinn often assumes the point position on top, in that particular zone alignment, and did so again on Saturday — earning himself a lot of praise from coaches and teammates and coaches for his play lately.
When asked what sparked the Cougars' late 18-1 run to get by the Pilots 73-62, freshman Yoeli Childs immediately responded, "Davin Guinn."
Guinn's stats don't tell even half of the story, considering his just three points scored, two rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes of play. But he created enough havoc with his energy on top to catalyze his team's late comeback.
“It gave us an emotional lift out there when things were looking kind of tough,” BYU coach Dave Rose said.
While exemplary on the defensive end, Guinn's lone made bucket proved very pivotal in the comeback effort.
With the Cougars trailing 61-55 with 4:28 left, Guinn found himself open and responded with a 3-pointer that sparked an eventual 18-1 run to close out the game.
“That three he hit was huge,” Rose said. “We were having a hard time, and they were coming off of different guys to double (Eric Mika) in the post, so we found him wide open. And he jumped up and stuck that thing.”
As for Guinn, he's fully embraced his new role off of the bench in providing a sort of defensive change-up to the opposition.
“I like being up on top. I’ve gotten used to it,” Guinn said. “I think it gives teams problems, and I like it when we go to it. … It’s not a passive defense. It’s a super active defense.”
Being active isn't a problem for Guinn, who believes in the most basic defensive principles.
“Defense is just all heart, so when we run our defense and have to get stops, that’s all it is,” Guinn said. “It’s just working, and so we really just tried to lock down on that. … It’s just all about giving that effort.”
As for Rose, he's getting comfortable in using Guinn in key situations and to close out games, like he did on Saturday.
“He’s just really consistent on challenging passes — getting his hands active and getting from one spot to the next,” Rose said. “And then he has energy because he hasn’t been out there a lot, like the other guys.”