BYU head coach Dave Rose said his team's first basketball showcase, the Cougar Tipoff, is always a "frustrating" experience.
He's coaching one team, yet always thinking about the other bench. That didn't change Wednesday.
And it's good to have some constant, considering the event showed that a lot really is going to change this year.
The "Blue" team won at the Marriott Center, 74-71, in what arguably shouldn't have even been that close of a game.
But a group that had potentially four of this winter's starters plus the most high-profile incoming true freshman failed to put away the "White" squad, featured by center Brandon Davies.
He had 19 points, while Stephen Rogers and Brock Zylstra combined for 36.
Zylstra is possibly the roster's biggest wild card. A former walk-on, he's been everything from scout-teamer to seldom-used backup. But his role this year could grow drastically as the team needs a point guard, a position Zylstra hadn't played much before getting ready for this season.
"He's been basically everywhere in this program," said Noah Hartsock, who is a co-captain with Zylstra and Charles Abouo. "I think he can really help us out."
Hartsock was borderline unstoppable, hitting 10-of-13 shots for 24 points and adding a game-high 13 rebounds.
His team featured Abouo (19 points) and another possible starter, Matt Carlino, who won't be eligible until mid-December because of his transfer following a short one-semester stay at UCLA.
Carlino had six points, nine rebounds and five assists.
The top freshmain, Damarcus Harrison, missed 7-of-10 shots as the South Carolinian made his Provo public debut after a sterling high school career.
He even missed a dunk at one point, which happened a few times among the Cougars.
They were often better at running bank shots than they were when their hands and the ball were above the rim.
BYU as a team made 33-of-53 free throws, perhaps an early concern to watch.
"We lost a lot from last year's team," Rose said, including a couple of great foul shooters - Jackson Emery and Jimmer Fredette (who did some other good things, too). "But there are pieces in place."
The best sign had to be Davies, who grew noticeably more comfortable during the second half of his first public, on-court hoops appearance since last February.
He scored 16 of his 19 points in the final 20 minutes, when it wasn't a running clock. Davies made 8-of-15 shots, including showing the ability to hit from a variety of angles and distances.
"He'll pretty much be a wrecking crew by himself," Hartsock said.
It was a decent starting point for the roster's nine freshmen, who are in the program from a variety of angles themselves - returned missions, redshirt years, etc.
Aside from Harrison's exploits, 14 points on inconsistent shooting, the best newbie was Josh Sharp. The returned missionary, and one-year Utah player who never saw the floor, had eight points, six assists and four rebounds. Rose said he believes Sharp could soon be a solid defender in BYU's system.
"All in all it was a good game," Rose said, definitely not getting ahead of himself.
BYU will play Division II member Midwestern State on Saturday (7 p.m.) in the team's first true exhibition. The Wichita Falls, Texas, school features Mike Loyd, Jr., a former Cougar who was with the the program for three seasons.
Jason Franchuk can be reached at email@example.com
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