Big Lift From Loyd

During BYU's season opener against Bradley, the Cougars received a big lift off the bench from sophomore guard Michael Loyd. In his 22 minutes of action, Loyd scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field. Only BYU's two preseason First-Team All-MWC players Jimmer Fredette and Jonathan Tavernari scored more points and played more minutes for the Cougars last Friday night.

As a true freshman, Michael Loyd played in 32 of the Cougars' 35 games during the 2007-08 season. However, after redshirting last season, the Bradley game was the first actual game he played in since March 15, 2008. Fortunately for BYU, Loyd showed no signs of rust.

"Oh, it felt great to contribute in the first game, first real game that I've played in the year," said Loyd. "That's tough, so it felt good to come in and actually contribute."

In addition to his 10 points, Loyd chipped in four rebounds, a steal and no turnovers. His performance in his first real game in the last 20 months drew praise from his head coach.

"I think Mike had a terrific game in the fact that … a lot of times when you've sat out that long, you come back and you try to do too much," said Coach Rose. "What Mike did a great job of was just kind of letting the game come to him, [he] took great shots in good rhythm, good timing, and then defensively he was terrific in our game plan, so I was really pleased.

"I think sometimes you get so anxious that you really kind of force the issue a lot of times, and Mike did a terrific job of just letting the game come to him and picking his open spots and then really helping our team."

Among the things Loyd focused on improving during his redshirt year were his ball-handling skills and his knowledge of the college game.

"I have a better understanding of the game," said Loyd regarding how he is a different player now as compared to his freshman year. "[The] redshirt year really helped me last year, so definitely [I have] a better understanding than when I came in as a true freshman for sure."

After averaging only two points and 8.8 minutes per game his first year, Loyd wasn't thought of by many to be one of BYU's primary scoring threats. However, his perfect night shooting from the field against Bradley is a sign of good things to come, and Loyd says he has the confidence to continue to provide a spark offensively off the bench.

"I feel like I've put in a lot of time into shooting," said Loyd. "It's one of the things we do good as a team so, I mean, it's one of the things I've practiced. So I … want to aim to shoot good every night."

Limited Minutes for Lamont

Loyd's 22 minutes against Bradley were a surprise, but so were Lamont Morgan's meager three minutes. The senior team captain only got off the bench late in the first half. Coach Rose said that was mainly because Loyd was playing so well. Rose said he talked about it with Lamont after the game, and he gave credit to Lamont's positive attitude.

"[Lamont] was as excited as anybody on our team and cheering down the stretch on the bench," said Rose. "That's what your team captain who's a great team guy [and] a great leader will do. He's gonna help us win a lot of games, no question, but that was a game where Mike played really well and … Jimmer was out there for a long time and it didn't create opportunities for Lamont."


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