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Provo • Patience is paying off, finally, for BYU guard Anson Winder.
The junior has endured more than his share of pine time in his career as a Cougar, despite having been mostly efficient when he's been given the chance.
Winder got another of those chances last week, and delivered outstanding games as a starter against Gonzaga and Portland. He scored 36 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field and 14-of-14 shooting from the free-throw line to seemingly cement his role as a starter for the rest of the season.
"It is an exciting feeling coming in having started these last couple of games and helping the team win games and stuff," he said Thursday after the Cougars' practice at the Marriott Center. "It is fun, and it is what you dream of as a kid to start in big college basketball games like this."
It appears coach Dave Rose will go with the same starting lineup he used in the 89-72 win over Portland Winder, Tyler Haws, Kyle Collinsworth, Nate Austin and Luke Worthington instead of freshman Eric Mika on Saturday at San Diego.
"I think the group plays well together, and it gives us a pretty good defensive presence with the group of guys who are starting, and then we get a lot of juice coming off the bench … when you are bringing in a group of guys who can give you some athleticism and offensive and defensive punch," Rose said.
Winder started instead of 13-game starter Skyler Halford because of his defensive prowess, but has added another offensive weapon to Rose's arsenal. And he's maintained that patient, positive attitude that makes him as popular as any player on the team with his teammates.
"Well, I think those special guys, and we have had a lot of them through here over the years, they are program guys, team guys," Rose said. "One thing that Anson can do really well is he can work hard, continue to work on his game, and keep that determination and drive to get better, and still enjoy the success of the team, no matter what his participation was as far as the last game was concerned. I think that is a very unique characteristic in today's world."
It's in the afternoon
The last and only time this BYU team played in the afternoon this season, things didn't go well. The Cougars fell behind early at Loyola Marymount and lost 87-76 in Los Angeles.
Rose said the team will do things differently this time around, starting with when it arrives in San Diego.
"Yeah, it is a concern," he said. "We got in late [to Los Angeles], so we will get in a little bit earlier [on Friday]. We will practice at their arena and try to manage that a little bit different. But hopefully our guys understand the challenge that is ahead of them, and the opportunity that they have.
"So, it is all about whether you play at 10 in the morning or 10 at night you gotta figure out how to get yourself going and execute a game plan. So, hopefully we can."
Because they are traveling partners and have played the same teams before or after each other all season, the Cougars and Toreros have naturally watched a lot of film of each other as they've scouted their next opponents. So although they haven't played each other since Jan. 4, there won't be any surprises Saturday.
"That will be a big difference in the actual flow, or personality, of the game, because I think these players know each other a lot more than they did the first time through," Rose said.
Haws (1,830) needs 12 points to pass Fred Roberts (1,841) for sixth place on BYU's career scoring list. … The Cougars have reached 20 wins for the ninth straight season, all under Rose. … Matt Carlino needs two points to pass Doug Howard for 33rd on the school's scoring list. … San Diego hasn't played since knocking off Gonzaga 69-66 last week.
BYU at SanDiego
O Saturday, 2 p.m. MST
TV • ROOT Sports