The Moments that Felt an Eternity
There's only 1:25 left in the second half. Cougar fans are on their feet.
Three of the Cyclones are out of the game (2 for fouling out, 1 because of ejection). It's a five point game (83-88) and the Cougars have the ball.
Frank Bartley makes a layup. 3 point game (85-88).
Nate Austin fouls Long. Long makes one, misses one (85-89).
Tyler Haws (who has been inconspicuoulsy less-than-spectacular stats-wise till the final moments) makes a crucial jump shot. (87-89). The crowd is crying its praise. BYU takes a timeout. Thirty-three seconds left in the game.
Fans start bringing the noise as the timeout comes to an end.
Iowa State takes a timeout. Fans are on the edge of their seats. Players are nervous, you can see it.
Play resumes, Winder steals. Monte Morris fouls. Winder makes his way to the free throw line.
Misses one. Makes one. Twenty-five seconds on the clock.
Fouls ensue, no one scores for twenty-one seconds. Fans are holding their breaths. Foul on Haws, Iowa State's Edozie takes it to the line. Makes the free throw (90-88). Four seconds. The crowd is screaming.
Ball in play. Colllinsworth takes it up for a field goal and...
Iowa State rebounds the ball and wins.
My hopes and dreams were on this game. If we won, we could have snatched the national spotlight (even if only for a moment). If we won, we could have begun to make teams fear playing us this season. If we had won, we could have been happy this evening. Instead, we all went home with heads hanging low because of one crucial problem.
We're Hot Under Pressure
The ideal state is to be cool under pressure, right? So does that mean that the natural opposite is to be hot? Whatever the term is, we are most certainly [that] under pressure.
Although we were decent in this match-up (hitting 1 of 2 consistently in the final minutes), that's not enough "clutch performance" to make the difference we needed. We need clutch plays, which is understandably extremely difficult in high pressure situations, but if we want to come out and say we can stand against anyone in the league, we have to make the easy points. Dave Rose's teams have traditionally been pretty okay with this, but tonight just wasn't their night.
Tyler Haws's Rushed Shot:
In the final seconds of the game, Haws had the ball within scoring range, rushed a shot before he was ready and was blocked. Had he taken the extra second to set himself, fake-out the defender, and shoot, we might be singing a very different song here.
Now it's fair to say that we don't know what it's like. His blood was pumping. His mind was racing. He was likely extremely tired, probably thinking about what a win against Iowa State would mean. That kind of situation can make anyone race through the motions (Heck, even I've done the same giving talks). If the Cougars want to really be spectacular, they're going to have to get these problems under control.
Lost the Lead in the Last Minutes
BYU lead for most of the second half. Not by much, but by enough to get a bit comfortable. Over the ensuing 20 minutes, Iowa State would steal away the lead.
Now they obviously worked to step up their game, but so should have we. Maybe we were tired. Maybe we were complacent. maybe we were simply outmatched. We (the fans) may never truly know what happened in the minds of the players. What we do know is that we will have to get that under control if we want to make something of the future.
Luckily in the game of basketball, even the best teams rarely go through the season with just a handful of losses. We may have lost a major opportunity to impress tonight with a win. We still gave them a heck of a show. One that will likely be remembered.
On top of that, we have a lot more basketball to play. An entire season lays ahead of us, and potentially another shot at the NCAA Tournament, if all goes well.
It's usually a bit rough getting back into the groove of things. Maybe our best games are just around the corner now that we know that we can hang within the Top 25. Sure we made a few mistakes, but our players have shown that they can adapt. They can adjust.
Here's to lifting our heads and thinking positively of the future.