This comeback for BYU was more about Iona flaming out than it was about BYU changing game plans. Iona’s MO all season has been ‘break their spirits early and then it won’t matter what we do.’ That’s exactly what happened in their conference tourney loss, leading by 14 in the first half, but running out of steam in the second half. Sure BYU had to stay mentally in the game while Iona is shooting 85%. That in of itself was the biggest obstacle for BYU. After that, they knew they could win. The only significant personnel changes BYU made was Cusick for Carlino(HUGE) and Harrison for Winder. And don’t let the numbers fool us; 55% from the charity stripe and 35% from 3 are not ingredients in coming from 25 down to win a ball game.
You have to wonder why Iona let off the gas. Even if they were getting tired, they only needed to keep on the throttle 7 more minutes and the game would have been out of reach. More importantly, why didn’t they change things when BYU made a run? Iona seemed content to let BYU have a 17-0 run. The legs were rubber by then and they couldn’t drain a shot. Things just fell off a cliff and Cluess was as good as Clueless about how to implore his team to overcome the adversity. Iona deserved to be in the tourney and they showed it for 16 minutes why they could have competed with anyone. But when the going got tough, and they got tired, they folded like my 9 deuce unsuited.
Had an unbiased co-worker who watched the game come discuss an interesting point. He said, even though the game was played at blazing fast speed in the first half, Captain 0 still got the position he wanted in the low block.
Shots just weren’t follow and Iona was suffocating him. When they wore out, the low position remained, but the defense wasn’t there the second time around. And when they did double him, switch to Noah’s Ark from the baseline. The senior could do know wrong. It was just like in shootarounds; smooth, deliberate, perfect.
Enjoy this one for tonight (or for the rest of your lives on BYUTV Classics reruns), but Marquette is a much better team, more athletic, and more physical. BYU will enjoy the slower pace of the game that Marquette likes to play, but BYU will need to play much better than last night to win. Noah and Davies will again be called on, but foul trouble becomes a greater concern because of their physical nature. And please, can Cougar Nation say a prayer for Matt Carlino in hopes of settling in to his rhythm?