Cougar Bounces: Colorado St.

During the 2001-2002 season, the BYU men's basketball team went 17-0 at the Marriott Center, but only 1-12 on the road. At 12-0 in Provo and 1-5 away from home, it feels like déjà vu for the Cougars. Opponents are using the same formula for success at their place – lights out shooting percentage and a barrage of thee-pointers – that BYU employs in Happy Valley.

This is becoming redundant. The script is already written. When BYU plays on the road they play well, but they have one key stretch in the second half where they do not, and they lose.

The 90-78 loss at Colorado State was no different. A halftime lead quickly evaporated. The Cougars regained the lead until the Rams went on a 10-2 run midway through the second half. BYU simply could not get stops on the defensive end from that point on. Colorado State shot 69-percent in the second half.

Trent Plaisted led all scorers with 27 points. It was a career high. Unfortunately for BYU, Plaisted left eight points on the board due to missed free throws. Jimmy Balderson scored 21 of his own, which was one point less than he had scored in the previous four games combined. He tied a career high with five three-pointers.

The loss drops BYU to 3-2 in conference play and 13-6 overall. The Cougars will remain on the road this week as they travel to New Mexico. The game will broadcast on the mtn at 8 p.m. MST on Wednesday.


Point: D. Austin Ainge did have six assists against just two turnovers, but scoring zero points is simply unacceptable. If BYU is to be successful, Ainge must score points.

Wing: B. Balderson breaking out of his scoring slump is very welcome. Lee Cummard must still be bothered by his leg injury as he was again limited offensively. The wings really struggled on perimeter defense. The Rams hit nine three-pointers. It was the wings' defense that really did the Cougars in.

Post: B. Yes, Plaisted had a career high, but those eight missed free throws loom large. While he did not need to make all of them, making five or six of them would have changed the entire complexion of the game. Yes, Colorado State does play two seven-footers, but the rebounding effort was poor. Eight rebounds should the amount from either Plaisted or Young, not both combined.

Coach: B. The game plan against the Rams has to be controlling their two big guys, and BYU did that for the most part. Both players got into early foul trouble and it limited their play in the first half. It did not appear that BYU had a plan to stop the Rams' outside shooting. Although, it did seem that BYU was ready to handle pressure in the back court for the first time on the road.

Spiff's Observations

- Plaisted's free throw shooting must get better. I don't know what the answer is, but it certainly isn't what they've been doing. This facet of his game must improve. He is too talented offensively to be leaving three to four points a night on the board.

- Ainge must score more points each game than I do. BYU cannot afford to get zero points from him. Taking more than one shot would be a good start. Consistency is a must from him. Since Broadus' suspension he has scored 20 points, three points, 13 points and zero points.

- The road woes continue. Last year, it was a breakthrough win at Colorado State that propelled the Cougars to their great finish. A win at New Mexico could do the same thing. They have actually played well enough on the road to give hope that they can win there. But the team is what they are and that is 1-6 on the road.

- I believe it will take 10 more victories for BYU to earn an at-large bid. That means 23 wins. The Cougars have 11 more conference games plus the tournament – which could be three more games. I think BYU must go 10-4 at worst to earn an NCAA birth.

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