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A Cougar Loss and the Emergence of Michael Loyd Jr.

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When Fredette went back to the bench immediately after the break, the game had shifted for the worse.  To quote Joyce: "The tide was near the turn and already the day was on the wane."

And then there was Michael Loyd Jr.

Loyd had a 17-point game earlier this season - but we assumed that was the exception rather than the rule.  After all he had only reached double figures twice this year and just three times as a Cougar.  You knew the guy was quick and athletic but he put up 16 ppg in high school and BYU's biggest competition in his recruitment came from Santa Clara.  You knew Loyd had served as the third-string PG for most of the year until Lamont Morgan's knee injury had given him some extra minutes of late.  So you figured, of all the guys on the roster to make an impact against New Mexico on Saturday, Loyd was one of the least plausible impact players.

But then Loyd didn't care what you thought.  And lucky for us, neither did Dave Rose.

Now, Rose has a even deeper bench than anticipated heading into the MWC and NCAA Tourneys.  Loyd can provide a wonderful change of pace - whether it's against smaller lineups or quicker guards that Fredette has some trouble with (See Gary, Dairese).  Whatever the situation, Loyd won't be forgotten on the bench any longer and will be accounted for in the opposition's scouting reports moving forward.

Back to the game itself.  The Hobson-Tavernari-Alford incident has seen enough attention.  (See links below)  It was a disappointing end to a game that featured a lackluster first half from the Cougars outside of Tyler Haws and a spectacular second half with what seemed like 300 lead changes. 

Whether or not you feel Noah Hartsock was fouled in the final seconds, the ref could have blown his whistle.  Unfortunately for BYU, he didn't and they lost.  It was a nice playcall and it was executed properly.  In a couple years when they call that play for Brandon Davies hopefully he's strong enough to throw it down despite the defender(s) in his way.  Hartsock made a strong effort but fell short. 

Really, the much more disappointing play was moments earlier when, at the 42 second mark, A.J. Hardeman escaped for an offensive rebound and put-back to go up 82-80.  (Tavernari looked like the most blameworthy Cougar on the play.) That was the game in summary.  Just when you thought the Cougars had a chance to go up and seal the deal, the Lobos made the play necessary.  Before that it was the Hobson 3-pointer (3:00) and the Martinez triple (3:42).

These two teams are fun to watch.  They are as close to an even match as you'll find in the NCAA this season and both have a chance to make some noise in late-March.  Here's hoping they do and bring the MWC some deserved respect.  So congrats to the Lobos and congrats to Mike Loyd.  Let's get Jimmer healthy (again) and finish strong heading into tourney play.

RECAP
BOXSCORE

BYU loses big game, and big star - Salt Lake Tribune
Coach and Cougar get upset - Salt Lake Tribune
Lobos beat Cougars in showdown - Deseret News
Michael Loyd surprises everyone - Deseret News
Some day after thoughts... - Deseret News