BYU took on Wyoming in Provo on Saturday, four days after losing Brandon Davies to an honor code violation and subsequently losing badly to New Mexico and having their hopes of a number one seed in the NCAA tournament shattered. This game was significant because it was the final home game for seniors Logan Magnusson, Jackson Emery and Jimmer Fredette and also the last home game for the Cougars as part of the Mountain West Conference. The guys had a chance to claim the MWC regular season championship with a win today no matter what SDSU did by virtue of beating them both times so far this season.
I had the chance to go to the game with some cousins, uncles and my dad & two younger brothers. This was an intense, emotionally-charged game and a great one to be at. Recap, stats and personal thoughts after the jump:
Before tip-off BYU had a short presentation for graduating seniors Logan Magnusson, Jackson Emery and Jimmer Fredette that drew loud applause and a standing ovation for all three but more so for the latter two than the former. You could tell from then on that this was going to be an emotional game for the players and fans and it didn't disappoint.
Wyoming controlled the opening tip and scored on their first possession and for the first few minutes it seemed like neither team could miss a shot. A little more than halfway through the first half BYU had a 10-point lead but the Cowboys went on a run that tied the game at 35-35 with under a minute remaining in the half. Then when it looked like Jimmer was going to try to break the tie before going into the locker rooms, he kicked it out to Jackson Emery in the corner for a beautiful 3-point swish and time expired before Wyoming had a chance to get the ball back in bounds.
The second half began with BYU scoring first and they never looked back from there. The closest Wyoming ever got was 1 point the rest of the way. The inconsistency of the calls made by the referees especially during the first 10 minutes of the second half was appalling to me. It seemed that they didn't want Jimmer to get most of the calls that he would regularly get at the beginning of the season (and personally I think he did draw a lot of fouls that weren't actually fouls because of the way he goes in at the basket) but when they wouldn't give him a call on one end, they would have a "makeup call" on the other end. One that stands out to me was called a charge on a Wyoming player when Kyle Collinsworth clearly stepped into the shooters path late and was moving his feet. The refs also missed a few travelling and stepping-out-of-bounds calls but that is a subject for maybe another post.
During a TV timeout, the speakers started blaring "Forever" by Chris Brown and the BYU student section broke out into a very cool and impressive flash mob.
BYU Student Section Flash Mob 2011 (via sumdumBYUgi)
This was totally surprising to everybody in attendance and it was one of the coolest things I have seen at a college basketball game. The players and coaches from both teams even stopped what they were doing to watch it. To me this was the turning point of the game. After the timeout, BYU build a commanding lead of over 10 points and never again let it fall beneath that. Wyoming put up a valiant effort but in the end Jimmer, Emery and everyone else on BYU was too much for the 'Pokes. When the outcome was no longer in question, Magnusson was the first senior to be subbed out to a standing ovation. Jimmer stayed in longer than I expected him to but he was able to come within 3 points of the BYU single-season scoring record with 38 in the game. Jimmer and Emery were subbed out at the same time and there was a 3-4 minute standing ovation for them as they gave hugs to all the coaches, players and team assistants before finally taking their seats. The game came to an end with final score of 102-78 which was BYU's third 100-point game of the season (the other two coming against Chicago State and at Utah).
After shaking hands with Wyoming, the confetti cannon was brought out onto the floor and the players received their MWC champ t-shirts and the 3 seniors addressed the crowd. They then proceeded to cut down the net and a very touching moment came as Brandon Davies, who was on the bench in a white shirt and tie during the game, climbed up the ladder to chants of "We love Brandon" from the fans and took his piece that he rightfully deserved after all he had done for the team during the course of the season. Coach Rose took the last snip at the net and we decided it was time to leave.
After also attending the game against New Mexico, this game left me feeling happy and more confident about our chances in the MWC tourney and in the big dance too. Even lacking a great big man in the post, I challenge any team to try to run with the 9th highest scoring team in the nation during this next month. I think the boys have alot of potential to make a deep run and I am excited for this next month!
P.S. This was my first game recap so please let me know in the comments section how you think I did. I could really use your feedback as long as it is constructive so be specific please. How was the length? Did I go into too little, just enough, or too much detail? Would you like to see more stats (categorical leaders, random facts, player of the game, etc.)? What other features would you like to regularly see on game recaps? Thanks again!