WOW. Fredette and Loyd combined for 63 points on 56% shooting and the rest is history. It wasn't the most beautiful win in school history, and there were many things that will need improvement on Saturday - but IT IS A NCAA TOURNAMENT WIN. The last time we could say that about the Cougars Mike Loyd wasn't even potty-trained. (Speaking of which, it's a good thing I am after this long and insane tug-of-war of a game).
Take it all in people. It's a great day to be a Cougar fan!
As we highlighted in our preview, Florida appeared to have an advantage in the rebounding department due to their superior size, length and overall athleticism in the frontcourt. The Gators demonstrated this early going to Vernon Macklin inside and letting him exploit the Cougars' main weakness. This isn't to say Chris Miles, Brandon Davies and Noah Hartsock played poorly however. Davies' athleticism was sorely needed and his rebounding rate was tremendous (6 boards in 19 minutes) considering the competition.
Those guys were working their tails off on every possession. In the end - particularly in both overtime periods - BYU's perimeter defense went ballistic and took a lot of pressure of the post players. The CBS commentators were correct to point out Fredette's defense on Ervin Walker, but even before that a host of Cougar defenders were "getting after it," despite Kenny Boynton's unusually high success from deep (29% coming into Thursday).
For a while I was thinking Jackson Emery was having an awful game - at least offensively. He missed a layup in the first half and wound up shooting just 2 of 7 from the floor. But Emery's defense was something to behold (Emery even matched up a few times with 6'9" Chandler Parsons) and his rebounding was like Moses striking the rock with his staff, and water pouring out - how did he do that?! I will get on him about only having one steal though. I expect at least three on Saturday.
The Cougars have to be the deepest team in terms of guards in the country. I mean, c'mon, Mike Loyd is ridiculous. Can someone let me know if he moved into a Holiday Inn Express? Seriously, Bronco Mendenhall has to be wondering if the dude can return punts. Loyd led BYU's bench in outscoring the Gators' bench 34 to 11. (And the backcourt will be even deeper next year should Jimmer return.)
Jimmer, Jimmer, Jimmer. That wave at the camera? You either loved it or hated it. But man what a player. Between him and Loyd, I'm not sure who was more fun to watch. Of course, you have come to expect these results from Fredette, but he's just so exciting. Perhaps it's because you know he's having fun out there as well. Kudos to Billy Donovan for playing his freshman Boynton on Fredette and sticking to it without many of the double and triple teams we've seen throughout the season. But the guy is near unguardable at this level.
Florida can blame their loss on Boynton fouling out in the second OT, and in missing a couple of potential buzzer-beaters - but ultimately the Cougars 1) shot better, 2) turned the ball over less and 3) got to the line more. And anytime you win those three categories a win is not only possible, but likely. Let's hope they can continue the trend on Saturday. GO COUGARS!!!
More stats after the jump...