Observations about the BYU Cougars after the loss to Portland

I finally had the chance to sit down and watch the 114-110 loss by the Cougars to the Portland Pilots and a few not so obvious things stood out to me.

1. Eric Mika doesn’t touch the ball nearly enough.  I understand that BYU is a guard oriented team, but how does one of the most talented young bigs in the country attempt just three shots in a game that goes triple overtime.  that is just absurd.

2. Kyle Collinsworth needs to spend much more time on the free-throw line before and after practice.  He just gives points away in bunches when he gets fouled and you just can not have that.  I noticed that he has a little hitch in his release that needs to be smoothed out.  It doesn’t’ happen every free-throw but when it does he almost always misses.  Repetition will surely fix that problem.  Collinsworth is far too good a player to be such a bad free-throw shooter.

3. Frank Bartley needs to play.  when you have a guy going crazy on the perimeter like Bobby Sharp did for the Pilots, Bartley needs to be called upon.  I am not sure why he is no longer in Dave Rose’s rotation but that needs to be rectified.  He is by far the most athletic wing they have and should be used as a lock down defender if nothing else at this point.  The Cougars have been destroyed this season by good shooting guards and Bartley might be the best chance of changing that pattern moving forward.

4. Nate Austin needs to look to score.  Austin is a good player with really nice touch but he never seems to shoot the ball.  Last night was no different.  he attempted just one shot from the field in 52 minutes on the floor and that didn’t come until there was about a minute left in the first overtime.  When you have a big who can stretch the defense to open up driving lanes for Haws, Carlino and Collinsworth as well as more space to maneuver on the block he needs to be utilized.

5. Tyler Haws can really shoot it.  Even though Haws struggled in the second and third overtime he still ended up with a career high 48 points in the loss.  Haws has a legitimate shot of leaving BYU as the Cougars’ all-time leading scorer.

6. The back cut still works in college basketball.  After Haws went all Kevin Durant on the Pilots, their wings began to overplay him to take away his ability to catch the ball going away from the bucket.  When that happened, Haws delivered great fakes and went back door for numerous easy scoring opportunities.

7. Boxing out is a lost art form that needs to be re-learned.  Even the most un-athletic guy can rebound the ball if he knows how to box out, but no one does it anymore.  Everyone just tries to out jump the other guy and it’s not smart.  You exert way more energy than necessary and still may end up without the ball.

8. Carlino and Haws can’t carry BYU by themselves.  More guys need to be involved on the offensive end of the floor and shooters can’t settle for deep contested shots late in games.  Carlino and Haws did that late against the Pilots and it really cost them.  They needed to attack the rim.

The Cougars have more than enough talent to be a tournament team, but they haven’t seemed to get out of their own way too many times this season and it will end up costing them dearly.  unless they can pull off a miracle, BYU will be making a return trip to the NIT thanks to another heart-breaking loss to a team that shouldn’t be able to hang.

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