Cougar Bounces: Idaho State

On the heels of the football team's outright conference championship, the BYU men's basketball team looked like it was ready to capitalize on the enthusiasm in Provo. Although they were able to pull out an 84-78 victory in overtime against Idaho State, the excitement from the afternoon's football game quickly waned during the tight basketball contest.

The game started out with BYU on fire. Trent Plaisted got the ball in the post on the first possession, made a quick move to the middle of the key and threw home an emphatic dunk. Keena Young followed that up with two buckets and the rout was supposedly on. It was 8-0 before the Bengals got on board.

There was, however, no quit in Idaho State, who took Marquette to overtime earlier in the week. The Bengals quickly got back into the game, but BYU got things turned around and was up 42-26 with just a couple minutes before halftime.

Then the wheels came off. The Cougars lost their ability to play. Whether they thought the game was over, or what, they simply could not execute on defense or offense. BYU scored 42 points in roughly the first 18 minutes of the game. Then they scored just eight over the next 14 or so.

Idaho State pushed the lead to 58-50 and it looked like the Cougs would go down. Enter Jimmy Balderson stage left. He scored 23 points, many of which came in the final six minutes and overtime.

It was a tough-nosed win and will provide Coach Dave Rose and the staff plenty of film with things to work on. It is always best to learn from wins and there will be lots of teaching opportunities after this win. BYU takes the floor again on Wednesday against Portland of the West Coast Conference. Tip-off is a 7:30 p.m. in Provo.


Point: B-. Rashaun Broadus started the game the way he played his last two – poorly. He was eventually replaced by Austin Ainge who nailed three three-pointers and dished out four assists in the first half. When Ainge needed a rest, it was Ben Murdock who came in and not Broadus. If a message was being sent, it was received as Broadus scored eight after halftime and had a crucial steal and lay-up that started the rally when it was 58-50.

Wing: B+. After shooting lights out against UCLA, the wings could not make anything. If not for Balderson's game-saving efforts, this grade would have been much lower. Lee Cummard did an excellent job on Idaho State's all-time leading three-point shooter (Cummard and company held him to a 3-18 shooting night). Consistency is the name of the game for the wings. Lights out shooting one night and stone cold the next simply will not cut it.

Post: C+. Trent Plaisted was a non-factor for the second straight game. He eventually fouled out. Again, he could not handle the double team. The Cougs did get a double-double out of Keena Young, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Vuk Ivanovic played well. He scored seven points, grabbed some key rebounds and made some important free throws after Plaisted fouled out.

Coach: B-. BYU came out of the locker room ready to play. They got the ball to the post early and often. When things deteriorated, Rose kept his players in the game and kept coaching until the shots started falling again. The real grade of this game for the coach will be how the team responds this week. If he is able to teach them from this victory, the grade could go up.

Spiff's Observations

- Murdock and Broadus both forced five-second calls on ISU's point guard. I can't remember the last time I saw one five-second call, let alone two, in a game.

- Ivanovic looked much more comfortable out there. His improved play will be important to Cougar success this year. I'm still waiting for Vuk and Trent to play at the same time.

- Fernando Malaman was very effective in his limited role.

- The crowd was announced at just under nine thousand, but it was very loud at times. They hounded the Bengal players all night long. Two games in Provo, two great crowds.

- Mike Rose really is all about confidence. If he makes his first shot, he generally has a good shooting game. If he misses, he is likely off that night.

- The Cougs are not getting the ball into the post enough. They are not looking for it often enough. That is probably due to the fact that only Young is an effective post option right now.

- Plaisted must figure the double-team out. First, he needs to catch the ball more cleanly and then either make a quick move or find the open man. He is doing a decent job of finding the open man – but when he gets it to them, they need to make shots. Otherwise teams will keep doubling him.


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