Wahoo! I’m still trying to come to terms with the emotions I felt this weekend! A couple of OTs, some down to the wire competitions, lots to get excited about! Lets get to it!
BYU Men’s Basketball:
BYU 80 – Santa Clara 58
BYU 75 – San Francisco 73 (OT)
This is much happier a week to report on. First of all, after an 0-2, it is really nice to see the boys come back with a 2-0 week. On Thursday, the men exhibited a continued dominance over Santa Clara. The Broncos rolled in at 8-16 overall, 5-7 in league play. It ended up being another repeat of their first meeting. BYU got off to a quick start and led by 10 at the half. They extended that lead in the 2nd half behind a 20 point performance from Yoeli Childs, 14 point performances from Elijah Bryant and TJ Haws, and perhaps a surprise 12 point performance from Dalton Nixon. Rylan Bergersen added another Sonic winning bucket as the final shot clock was expiring for BYU. Free Sonic drinks for the fans, and comfortable win for Dave Rose and his team. Then Saturday, BYU gave the Cougar faithful an impromptu heart health check. Against 6th place San Francisco the Cougars struggled all game long to play their game. The Dons led led the Cougars in points in the paint and points off turnovers during regulation. The half ended with BYU getting just enough momentum to pull within and go into the half down 26-27. The second half was more of the same as BYU fell into a deficit of 6 points with only 39 seconds remaining. It took 18 seconds 0/2 shooting from the field for BYU and 0/2 free throws from USF big man Jimbo Lull before Yoeli Childs hit a jumper to bring the Cougars within 4 with 21 seconds remaining. One MONSTER steal by Elijah Bryant, 10 seconds and an “and 1” later and Jashire Hardnett had the BYU within 1 with 11 seconds to go. USF’s Souley Boom put in a quick score to put the Dons up 3 and BYU was on its last leg. The ball was inbounded to TJ Haws and he moved around at the top of the key drawing a double team which freed up Elijah Bryant on the right angle for an open 3 pointer with 4 seconds left. With Ice-water in his veins, Eli buried it to tie the game at 65 with 4 seconds left. A great defensive play to keep a driving Frankie Ferrari from ruining the comeback sent the game into overtime. Even the overtime was intense. BYU let USF get on the board with two quick baskets going up 69-65. 4 perfect free throws later and the it was tied up again. A 3-pointer from Ferrari had the Dons up 3. Then TJ Haws took over. A layup had the cougars down 1, 72-71. Chase foster went 1/2 from the free throw line to put USF up 2. TJ haws added a second layup to tie the game at 73. After a Zac Seljaas steal, TJ took the ball down the court and started to drive for the last shot. As he crossed the top of the key he was fouled by Souley Boom and being in the Bonus, he was sent to the line. 2/2 and the Cougars had their first lead since the 48-45 at the 8 minute mark of the 2nd half. Frankie Ferrari airballed his final 3 attempt for the win and BYU completed an incredible comeback. The Marriott Center had all but emptied at about the 3 minute mark when the Cougars hit their game high 7 point deficit. TJ Haws scored all 10 points in the overtime period to outscore the Dons 10-8 and seal the deal for the Cougars. What a rush! If there were any among you readers who were there, and stayed until the final buzzer had sounded, I applaud you! If you left early, “tsk, tsk”. Never count the Cougars out, no matter how much they have “disappointed” you in the past. A lot of heart made this win possible. And, with Gonzaga beating Saint Mary’s in the rematch in Moraga, the top of the Conference table g6ot a lot more interesting. This week will be key heading into the final week of regular season play before the Tournament.
The week will start with the Cougars rolling into the home of the Waves of Pepperdine. Pepperdine is dead last in the WCC with an abysmal record of 1-13. At only 4-22 on the season, Their only victories have come against Cal Lutheran, Oral Roberts, UC Riverside and fellow conference bottom dweller LMU. The downside? When BYU rolled into LA to play LMU, they left with an L. And Malibu has also not been kind to BYU having lost there in every year since 2014. The upside? Pepperdine hasn’t been this bad in that stretch and the first 2 years in the league, neither in Provo, nor Malibu did the Cougars have any sort of trouble. It will be key for BYU’s big performers to do just that if the Cougars want to have a chance at redemption. The Waves are averaging 71.5 points per game and have 3 players averaging double digits including stars Kameron Edwards and Colbey Ross. The last time the two teams met, Kameron Edwards was injured but Colbey Ross put in a team high 16 points as 46 combined points from Yoeli Childs and Elija Bryant proved too much for the Waves to handle. The final score was 83 (which is right above the waves season average of points allowed)-63. The Cougars out-rebounded, out-assisted, and amassed fewer turnovers than the Waves, something they have struggled to do in a game since. If they can repeat that, and still shoot around their season average of 49.3% from the field and 37% beyond the arc, they should be able to hang ten in Malibu.
Saturday the Cougars head down to Sunny San Diego for a rematch with the Toreros. This was going to be an exciting match-up for 3rd place, but a surprise loss last week to Santa Clara but USD two games back of the Cougars heading into the final 4 games of the regular season. They will meet up first with 4th place Pacific on Thursday before meeting with the Cougars on Saturday. This is BYU’s chance to separate themselves from the middle of the pack and solidify that 3rd place spot going into the tournament. The last meeting was very much in the Cougars’ favor. BYU won 74-58 behind breakout games from TJ Haws (24) and Jashire Hardnett (17). Eli and Yoeli added double digits as well. However, the Toreros led on bench points 10-2. In that game, the Toreros top 3 scorers were right at their averages. If the Cougars can keep them at their averages and hit theirs, this shouldn’t be a problem for BYU. However, BYU is 2-2 at Jenny Craig Pavilion over the past 4 years. If the off and on trend continues, they should be 3-2 after Saturday and 3 games clear of the Toreros. With any luck, they will beat Pacific on Thursday and 3rd place will be BYU’s.
BYU Women’s Basketball:
BYU 55 – Santa Clara 34
BYU 73 – San Francisco 76 (2OT)
Another WL week for the Cougars. They have not put two wins together since the first half of January at the beginning of league play. On Thursday, an extremely low scoring affair had the ladies take a win in Santa Clara. Only one Bronco scored in double digits (off the bench mind you) as SCU could not get anything going against BYU. They shot 11-56 from the field which is 19%. BYU shot fewer shots but made twice as many shooting 20-44 at 45%. 3 Cougars scored in double digits as Sarah Hamson and Cassie Devashrayee each had 10 and Brenna Chase led all scores by leaps and bounds at 25. She was 5-9 from 3 and basically was the difference between the two teams. Saturday, the ladies had a mirror image of what happened to the Men in Provo. BYU Led by 1 at the half, USF hit a bucket with 5 seconds left to tie the score at 61-61 and a missed layup sent the game to overtime. In that first overtime, it was Cassie Devashrayee who hit a Elijah Bryant-esque 3-pointer with 9 seconds left to send the game to a second overtime 67-67. Then, in the 2nd overtime, it was BYU who started with 4 quick points only to be outscored by two straight 3 pointers from USF to lose 76-73. It was heartbreaking and frustrating. However, it isn’t the end of the world and there is plenty to play for in the final two weeks of conference play.
Three of the final 4 games will be played in Provo including 2 this week. Thursday, the Waves of Pepperdine roll in to the Marriott Center. They currently sit in 8th place in the League at 5-9. In the first match-up BYU won 73-67 in Malibu. The home court advantage should prove useful for the Cougars. Pepperdine only averages 68.6 points per game and only have one player averaging in double digits. BYU, on the other hand, has 2 (3 if you round up Malia Nawahine’s 9.6 ppg) in double digits and average a much lower opponent average (64.8) than Pepperdine (71.2). I expect this one will be close, like the first one, but still in BYU’s favor leading them to their first win streak since January.
On Saturday, the Toreros come in for a rematch of the heartbreaking one point loss in Jenny Craig Pavilion on January 20th. The Cougars were down 70-63 with just under 4 minutes left before putting in a 6-0 run to get down one. But in the final minute the Cougars went 0-2 from the field and 0-2 from the charity strip and gave the game away. They will look to return the favor, but with much less drama (hopefully). The numbers for the two teams are virtually identical. The biggest difference will be the home advantage. Both teams have 9 wins at home, and both have losing records away (BYU 5-8, USD 4-7). BYU takes this one at home and their win streak hits 3.
BYU Women’s Gymnastics:
BYU 196.450 – Southern Utah 196.800
The Cougars’ woes continued despite setting team record on the Beam. They earned a 49.325 on beam, the highest score since 2005, and matched their season overall high score of 196.450. Southern Utah, however, was just that good and beat the Cougars through a valiant albeit annoying team effort. There was plenty to cheer about as BYU gymnasts set or matched 6 individual career highs across the 4 events.
This week the Cougars will play host to Denver University and Southern Utah in a rematch of the past two weeks. Hopefully the Cougars massive attendance in the Smith Fieldhouse will be enough to power them to victory over the teams that handed them their last two losses.
BYU 10 – Stanford 1 (6)
BYU 1 – Western Michigan 2
BYU 4 – Nebraska 5 (8)
BYU 1– Georgia 13
BYU 9 – Oregon State 14
Ouch. This was a tough weekend. Despite starting off with a great win against Stanford, the Cougars had a hard time getting their offense consistent, and their pitching suffered as the Cougars went 1-4 down in Tempe. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this and we’ll just move on to the next week.
This week, another tournament down in Las Vegas will give the ladies another chance to get back to their winning ways. The Cougars will take on Hawaii (Thursday), Florida International (Friday), New Mexico (Friday), Long Beach State (Saturday), and Iowa State (Saturday). The Marucci desert classic will hopefully give the Cougars a chance to get some more pitching experience to a young rotation and will begin to solidify a more consistant team performance moving forward.
Play Ball folks! It is baseball season! One of my favorite things to follow and attend at BYU. They will start off the season in Northridge, California against the Matadors of Cal State Northridge. The Cougars have been picked to win the WCC by their peers and with the league being a strong league, nationally, I expect that to mean that we are going to be pretty good. Lots of preseason honors and expectations will hopefully prove very well earned. I expect they will. CSUN won the last meeting in 2015, but the Cougars won in 2009 and took 1 of 3 games in 2004. The overall record for the Cougars against the Matadors is 6-7-1. However, this BYU team has been improving over the past couple of years and look to be just as, if not stronger this year than they were last year. Go Cougs!
BYU Men’s Volleyball:
BYU 3 – UCSD 1
BYU 3 – USC 1
It was a good rebound week for the boys as they travelled through Southern California last week. Although they dropped a set for the first time in 6 years to the Tritons it was only one and the Cougars walked away with a nice win. In fact, since set one was the only set they lost, you might say that they did in fact sweep UCSD, they just didn’t show up until set 2. The Cougars bested the Tritons in almost all of the major categories including hitting percentage, service aces, blocks, kills and digs. If it weren’t for a slow first, this would have been a relatively easy win for the cougars as UCSD averaged 19 points per set in their 3 dropped sets. It felt good to be back on top. On Saturday, at USC the Trojans put up quite a fight and did not make it easy for BYU but when it came down to the important moments, BYU showed why they are one of the most dominant teams in the country. The match was full of some excellent offense and prolonged rallies. In fact, if you want to see some spectacular volleyball, try to find the final rally of the match. It was very impressive.
The Cougars will now look towards another Thursday/Saturday week against #10 Grand Canyon and Concordia Irvine. The Cougars have not played the Antelopes (antelopes?) of GCU since 2010 but took home a victory in the lone matchup. Now, as a member of the MPSF, the match-up will have some more implications to go along with it. The Antelopes are 11-3 on the year and are just 3 spots behind the Cougars in the national rankings. GCU averages a .311 hitting percentage with 11.7 kills, 8.2 digs and 2.4 blocks per set. BYU averages .321, 12.5, 7.5 and 2.6. Across the board, fairly even. But I’m giving the edge to BYU, even in Phoenix.
Saturday, the Eagles host the Cougars in Irvine, California. Last year, in their first meeting, the Cougars swept CUI in Provo. The Eagles are 4-5 on the season and do not have the resume to give me much concern. This should take the Cougars to an easy 5 match win streak.
BYU Track and Field:
Three Cougars, Rory Linkletter, Laura Young-Bluth and Whittni Orton broke school records and qualified for the NCAA Championships along with Daniel Carney and Abraham Alvarado. It was a great performance. Dennis Christensen and Jefferson Jarvis took 1st and 2nd in the shot put. There were a handful of other Cougars who set personal bests in the meet as well. All and all a great weekend.
This Saturday Ed Eyestone and his teams will head out to Notre Dame for the Alex Wilson Invitational and hopefully a few more Cougars will qualify for the NCAA Championships. There is only one more meet, the MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships next week before the NCAAs so time is running out to qualify.
BYU Men’s Golf:
I did fail to mention previously that Mens Golf took 5th at the Arizona Invitational on January 29-30.
This week they will head to Hawaii for the John Burns Intercollegiate tournament Thursday – Saturday. I will look forward to reporting some more success!
BYU Women’s Golf:
The Gold Rush – BYU 2nd
Despite a rough first round, the 45th ranked women’s golf team took 2nd of 14 teams down in Long Beach Monday and Tuesday. I know that is actually this week and it is already passed so I will talk more about it next week.
BYU Men’s Tennis:
BYU takes on Utah State this Friday in Provo. The Cougars are 13-3 all time against the Aggies but USU is on a bit of a run over the past 3 years. They are only 4-3 this year so BYU will look to end that run and keep on the run of their own. With some amazing guys on the roster, I think this will go well.
On Saturday, conference play begins as Portland rolls into town. The Pilots, also at 4-3, will look to start conference play with a win, but they will have a tall task against the Cougars. Undefeated so far this season, and having won the last 6 in provo against the Pilots, I don’t expect there to be much difficulty in ending up 9-0 on the season after this week.
BYU Women’s Tennis:
BYU 7 – UCI 0
BYU 3 – UCSB 4
BYU 5 – SDSU 2
The cougars swept the Anteaters of UC Irvine 7-0 on Thursday. They remained perfect in singles play and only dropped one doubles match. It was pretty clear that BYU has got a good team on the courts this year. However, on Saturday they picked up their first loss against the 49ers of Long Beach State. In a close match, the Cougars lost the doubles point and took 3 of the first 5 singles matches. It came down to a tie breaker between BYU Freshman Anastasia Abramyan and LBSU’s Munoz. It came down to a tiebreak which Abramyan couldn’t hold on to. But it was a very close match. Saturday, however, the Cougars did get back to their winning ways. San Diego State took the doubles point and one of the singles matches but all 5 of the additional singles matches went to the Cougars and they took home the W. Travelling all over California in a weekend can take a big toll on student athletes so this week will be a welcome slow-down.
The Cougars will host Denver University on Friday at noon in Provo. The Pioneers come in at 4-2 off of two straight sweeps (7-0). BYU does own the series at 8-6 all time and will look to make it 9 on Friday.
BYU Swim and Dive:
BYU Swim and Dive will compete in the MPSF Swim and Dive Championships beginning Wednesday, February 14 and going through Saturday. They will look to improve on a tough season and go into the off-season (and hopefully the NCAAs) with some momentum.
BYU Men’s Rugby:
While one of the matches was cancelled due to weather (Colorado State). The Cougars did put a beat down on Colorado. The final score was 111-9. I repeat… 111… to 9. I don’t even know what to say to that… just domination…
This Saturday, The Cougars will head to Moraga to face Saint Mary’s in a HUGE match. Saint Mary’s is another powerhouse team in the country along with BYU and UCLA. The matches between the two are always exciting and I don’t expect this one to be any different.
BYU Men’s Lacrosse:
Lacrosse had a great win over UNLV by a score of 19-11. I was unable to find specific stats but they have the next week off. A great start to the season!
Some seasons are winding down and some are just getting started. Either way, a lot of cheering to do this week FanatYcs! Go Cougs!