It’s that time of year where the college football and basketball seasons overlap as one ends and another begins. As we approach the end of the football season, and embrace the opening of the basketball season, let’s get a recap of how both squads fared over the weekend for BYU.
BYU 92 Longwood 60
On Friday, Dave Rose and his Cougars basketball team entered game three of the post-Jimmer era. As I talked about last week, point guard play has been a concern early on. That issue seemed to be, and should be taken care of after Friday nights game against Longwood.
Surprisingly, both Brock Zylstra and Craig Cusick started the game, with Stephen Rogers on the bench. But that lineup didn’t last long in the game.
True freshman DeMarcus Harrison, and redshirt freshman Anson Winder stole the show. I know what you are thinking, “Come on Chesh, they were playing Longwood.” If you caught any of the game Friday, you would have been wiping your own drool off of the floor with me. The lineup of Winder, Harrison, Charles Abouo, Brandon Davies and Noah Hartsock was so much fun to watch and had me salivating. Both freshman guards brought an energy and moxy to both sides of the floor that this Cougar team has not seen.
The stat sheet doesn’t show what Harrison brought to the table. In thirteen minutes on the floor, he had 11 points and 1 assist. He was 3/5 from beyond the arc, and stuck to his man on D like glue. The same goes for Winder.
Winder played 25 minutes, third most of anyone on the team. He had 8 points and 5 assists and like Harrison was also a glove on the defensive side of the ball. He was able to distribute the ball and get everyone involved in this offense. He brought the identity to this team, an identity none of us knew it had post-Jimmer.
Even with the excitement of these youngsters, the man of the game was senior Charles Abouo who, at 6’5, had 19 points and 16 rebounds on the night. And he did it with his pants on backwards. Chuck was an animal, beating everybody to the ball. He also had 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. Hartsock also played well and Rogers adjusted to his role off the bench, ending the night with 17 points and shot 7/9 from the field in 18 minutes on the court.
The one concern, was the play of Davies, who seemed to be exposed. Longwood made it an extra effort to double or triple team him in the post. He struggled to get any shots off and finished the night with just 2 points. He got his third foul midway through the second half and was done for the night at that point. With Davies struggling, freshman Nate Austin unexpectedly played very well off the bench.
What can we take away? When UCLA transfer Matt Carlino is eligible December 17th, there will be three exciting guards to watch on this Cougar team. Oh … and they are all freshman. Be excited for the future Cougars hoops, fans.
The Cougars host Prairie View A&M tomorrow night at the Marriott Center at 7PM on BYUtv. They then head east for the Chicago Invitational Challenge over the weekend.
BYU 42 New Mexico State 7
It was senior night in Provo at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Guys like Jadon Wagner, Jameson Frazier, JJ DiLuigi, and Brian Kariya saw their final time on the field in front of the ESPNU crew. Each of the were able to have memorable moments. Both Wagner and Frazier picked up both Aggie fumbles. DiLuigi led all runners with 12 carries and 75 yards. He also had 3 catches for 31 yards. Kariya had 7 carries for 30 yards and scored 1 of two Cougar rushing touchdowns.
What wasn’t expected, and a great surprise happened to two seniors who haven’t seen much time on the field. Starting tight end Austin Holt left the game with an ACL injury. BYU has been thin at that position all year due to injury, and senior Matt Edwards, grandson of LaVell Edwards got some playing time. The first ever pass that got thrown to him as a Cougar he caught, and took it into the endzone for a 9 yard touchdown.
Senior Matt Marshall has been the primary holder for all field goals and PAT’s these past two years. He is listed as a wide receiver on the depth chart. Last season when quarterback Riley Nelson suffered his season ending shoulder injury, Marshall would come in at certain moments to run the wildcat. He’s not had that opportunity this season … until his senior night. He ran the option from the two yard line and punched it in for six points.
The player of the game was true sophomore Jake Heaps who got his first start at quarterback since being benched six weeks against Utah State. Jake played well. He was spreading the ball out well, something he’d not done very well earlier in the year. He completed 21 of 36 passes and ended with 238 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Another true sophomore made a significant performance, unsurprisingly. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy wore the jersey of senior Jordan Pendelton who suffered a season ending injury two weeks ago against TCU. Jordan’s entire college career has been laden with leg injuries. Van Noy’s move to wear Jordan’s jersey compliments his outstanding play with the character he has. He’s also arguably the best player on this team.
BYU also accepted their invitation to play in the Armed Forces bowl on December 30th at 10AM. The Cougars still await the announcement of their opponent, which will likely be from Conference-USA.
The Cougars now face their second and final bye week of the season before traveling to Honolulu to finish the regular season against the Hawaii Warriors. That game kicks off at 5:30 PM local time and will be broadcast on ESPN2.