December 6, 2008

Basketball: BYU-Utah State game was exciting from start to finish

An intense College Basketball game took place tonight at the Energy Solutions Arena as BYU improved their record to 8-0 with a with a 68-63 victory over in-state foe, Utah State.

From start to finish the game was a rocking atmosphere. Prior to the game starting the Utah State fans were doing all these pathetic choreographed cheers and chants to get the Aggies pumped up and the BYU squad intimidated. Seriously? Is this High School again? I know its bad enough living in Logan, but come on Aggie fans show some life for other games other than just BYU and show support for your football program, you can barely get 10K at Romney.

Anyways, let's just say the antics of the Aggie fans made me want BYU to win this game even more than before and I was pretty excited for this one leading up to it.

BYU played really well tonight but the game could of been a lot bigger margin of victory had it not been for lack of rebounding early on and missed free throws. Here are some positives and negatives I took away from tonights game.


- Defensively BYU adjusted really well to the big men of Utah State, Gary Wilkinson and Tai Wesley. Early on Wilkinson was dominating getting to the line and having his way on the glass. BYU started double teaming and was doing a really nice job. Jonathan Tavernari is showing his improvement this season becoming an all-around player.

- Gavin MacGregor needs to be the #2 Center behind Miles. I remember back in the 2007 win at the Huntsman Center over Utah, MacGregor was holding his own against Nevill and basically shutting him down. MacGregor last year was out due to injury and this season he came back and is strong as ever. Hasn't seen many minutes till tonight due to foul trouble from Miles and James Anderson early on. MacGregor has great size and length to alter shots and has a nice touch around the basket. Anderson is going to be a nice player down the road but he's not ready for the big stage yet. MacGregor needs to see more minutes and he made a strong case for that tonight.

- BYU has a knack for forcing turnovers. Jackson Emery, JT and Jimmer just to name a few seem to find ways to produce turnovers and know the angles of basketball very well. The Cougs forced Utah State to 17 turnovers tonight, while BYU only had 9 which is always critical in big game situations like this.

- Finding a way to win a big-game without Lee Cummard being in the game down the stretch. Cummard had probably one of his nights as a Cougar and fouled out with five or so minutes left in the ball game. BYU came up clutch led by Jimmer, Emery and JT. Charles Abuouo made soem nice plays as well, but BYU is showing its definitely no one-man show and is a very deep team from 1-12.


- Free Throw Shooting. When BYU was causing all those fouls early in the second half it became huge in retrospect. BYU was in the double bonus early in the second half, had it not been for that BYU would of been in many missed front ends on 1 and 1s. Jackson Emery couldn't hit two free throws for the life of him, along with Jimmer who is usually automatic from the line. JT even missed a couple. The game wouldn't have came down to the final minute if the Cougs would of hit their free throws.

- Giving up Offensive Boards. 20 to 9 was the rebounding edge at half in favor of Utah State. BYU was even in the second half but that first half giving Utah State second chances prevented BYU from having a chance to start and pull away when they had a 10-point lead. Wilkinson and Wesley though are one of the better front-courts BYU will face all season. They are pretty solid. Against teams like Arizona State with Pendegraff and Wake Forest who have four guys above 6-11 it showed we have a lot of work to do. This team still has a lot of upside, they are not even close to peaking like some would suggest.

- Couldn't capitalize in situations to take control of game. This occured mainly in the second half. It seemed like BYU had a lead of about five for awhile and was getting numerous defensive stops but was rushing down the court on the offensive and forcing the issue on some bad shots. It was hard to have a more stable offensive output with Cummard having a bad night and the overall intensity of the game but the team shouldn't be afraid to dump in the low-post more. Miles and MacGregor have some really nice low posts moves. Go to them more and slow it down on occassion to get em involved.

All in all though it was a great game to attend. I was really pissed with Utah State fans chanting "Dave Rose Sucks!" How do you honestly chant that towards a guy who is a class-act in every sense of the term. Rose gives no one ammo to bash him, but it just shows what living in Logan can do to ya, and all the storming they do on the Spectrum floor over meaningless opponents. That was annoying, but again it was a great game and the Cougs are 8-0 and have Boise State on Wednesday night at home in the Marriott Center at 8. Time to get a little revenge on the Broncos who have been little pests that past few years.

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