For the last two games Wyoming interim men’s basketball coach Fred Langley has brought sophomore guard and leading scorer Desmar Jackson off the bench.
The biggest reason is to protect him from getting into early foul trouble in UW’s more aggressive style of defense. Still, Jackson fouled out of last Wednesday’s 80-70 loss at Utah and was saddled with foul trouble in the Cowboys’ 77-67 win over TCU on Feb. 12. Still, Jackson averaged 16 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in those contests, and enters Wednesday’s home game with Air Force averaging 15.2 points and five rebounds per game.
Langley will continue to bring Jackson off the bench, and one other Mountain West Conference coach likes that plan.
“I like having that guy that can come in and score that people have to prepare for,” Utah coach Jim Boylen said. “The thing about Desmar Jackson is you have to prepare for him. You have to prepare for him to come in and change the pace of the game and score the ball. A lot of times you might start your best defender, and now you might have to keep him in longer or substitute a little differently to get your best perimeter defender on (Jackson). Those are the kinds of decisions you have to make when you have a guy like that coming off the bench.
“I think he’s one of the most talented guys in the league. He’s still a young, developing player and can really get it going. But I’ve always liked that. I think it makes you harder to guard. If you get down early you have a guy that can come in and get you back in it. If you get up early you have a guy that can come in and extend the lead.”
Boylen, in his fourth year at Utah, knows all about this. He’s brought many of his leading scorers off the bench in recent years, including guard Carlon Brown last season and center Luke Nevill and couple of years ago. Shaun Green and Tyler Kepkay are other solid scorers Boylen has brought off the bench, and this season junior Chris Kupets comes off the bench and averaged eight points per contest.