Cougar Bounces

Charles Dickens once wrote a classic tale of two cities. BYU wrote its own classic tale of two halves against TCU in the Marriott Center on Wednesday. The game served to remind Cougar fans that leaving a BYU game early is ill-advised.

Down 41-29 at the half, the BYU Cougars looked dead in the water. They committed 13 turnovers and shot 28-percent. They were also losing the rebounding battle. The effort was not there and it showed.

Whatever Coach Rose and his assistants in the locker room said, someone better have been taking notes. The Cougars came out in the second and played with fire on defense. TCU shot 50-percent in the first half, but just 38-percent in the second. The Cougars also came alive on the glass. They turned a rebounding deficit into a plus-nine final margin.

BYU completed the most improbable of comebacks. With under a minute to play, they trailed 69-61, but, a three pointer by Brock Reichner, a lay-up and a three-pointer by Rashaun Broadus and three-pointer by Lee Cummard with less than five seconds to go tied the game at 72. TCU could not get a shot off in that time, and the game went to overtime.

In the extra period, BYU outscored the Horned Frogs 17-8.

GRADES

Point: B+. This could have been higher, but the six turnovers slip the grade a bit. Broadus was huge scoring 12 points, all after the half. He was a monster on defense with five steals and a complete shut down of the TCU point guards. Broadus' harassment in the second half was instrumental to the BYU comeback.

Wing: B+. When Cummard, a true freshman, hits a game-tying three-pointer with under five seconds to play the Marriott Center went nuts – or at least what was lest of the 9,106 in attendance. 29 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists and three steals with just four turnovers is an excellent outing for the Cougar wings.

Post: B+. I would love to rate this an "A", but the seven turnovers by Trent Plaisted drop this down a notch. Plaisted did have career highs in points (22) and rebounds (16). Fernando Malaman and Keena Young were also in double figures with 11 point each.

Coach: A. Coach Dave Rose never stopped coaching. With his team down eight with under a minute to go, he made the substitutions, called the timeouts and motivated his troops in an excellent manner. Now, if he can just get that to happen from the onset, the Cougs would be roaring. The defensive changes made at half-time were spectacular.

OBSERVATIONS:

- Plaisted has made 20 of his last 24 free throws. He also has 29 rebounds the last three games.

- BYU had six players in double figures: Balderson, Broadus, Malaman, Plaisted, Reichner and Young.

- The Cougars 11 steals were a season high as were the 19 offensive and 45 total rebounds.

- BYU had 24 assists on 27 field goals. In the second half and overtime they were setting good picks that were creating open shots. BYU was 8-14 from behind the arc in final 25 minutes of the game.

- The Cougars improve to 3-3 in conference, which ties them with New Mexico for fifth place.

- The change in defensive intensity from half one to two was very noticeable. BYU does not win this game with out the great defense and rebounding effort of the second half.

- BYU does not win this game without Broadus. He probably earned his starting job back. Now, if he can just do that on the road.

- I noticed that Balderson looked somewhat down on the bench after seeing Jackson Emery and Mike Rose get into the game before him, but he was the one on the court at the end making plays. He contributed ten points, three rebounds and two assists. He also played excellent defense on the final possession of regulation. TCU's guard had to pass the ball into the corner instead of taking a shot that Balderson would have blocked.

- Plaisted's final rebound was a thing of beauty. The ball bounced away from the rim, he took one step and out-jumped everyone for it. It was pure desire and hustle to go get it. He is developing into a very strong, consistent rebounder.

- The Plaisted and Dawes on the floor at the same time experiment has to stop. It is not working and both players look uncomfortable out there together.

- BYU's next two games are on the road. It is the only consecutive road game stretch of the conference season. They play Saturday against Colorado State and then next Wednesday against New Mexico. There is no television for the CSU game, but the UNM game will be on SportsWest and ESPN Full Court.


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