BYU basketball: No such thing as an ugly win for 2017-18 Cougars

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 04: Yoeli Childs
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 04: Yoeli Childs /

BYU basketball this season has been it’s best when it muddied up the game. The offense hasn’t found it’s stride yet, but consistent defense will produce W’s out of the dirt. Even against teams like UVU.

Here it is, BYU basketball fans. Your men’s basketball team wins a game after shooting 36 percent from the field and 22 percent from three, and what do I call it?


Yoeli Childs’ one man wrecking crew start, scoring the first nine points of the game, was swiftly followed by defensive adjustment from the UMass Minutemen. Most of the rest of the game was a lot of offensive futility for the Cougars, especially for TJ Haws, who accumulated a miserable 0 of 10 shooting from the field, and only a single made free throw.

Then a deep three (#Dagger) put UMass up by 10 with 4:40 to go.

So how did BYU win it 68-66?

It wasn’t a flurry of threes and dazzling passing. No wild runs sprinting down the court in transition. No buzzer-beater from half court, either.

The Cougars won the game by getting to the foul line. By making two stops on defense to UMass’s one. By snatching down rebounds on both ends of the floor. And don’t forget switching defenses between 1-3-1, 2-3, and face-grinding man every other possession to muck up the Minutemen’s attack.

The Cougars played the kind of game that get’s you a win when the shots aren’t falling.

And when there were only 13 seconds left in a tied game, and Jashire Hardnett brought the ball up the floor at a measured pace, received a screen from Payton Dastrup, dove into the lane, and dished it to a wide open Yoeli Childs for the game-winning dunk?


Don’t expect anything different against UVU

The Cougars should beat the Wolverines. When viewed from a purely historical perspective, from what the programs have built and their expectations, all the superlatives lean toward BYU. But that didn’t stop the UVU from raining down a Marriott Center record number threes last year.

And this year, there are a lot of forces at work pointing to a battle at the UCCU Center.

Part of it is due to scheme. The BYU offensive design calls for a more measured look in the half court. Players should play and shoot at the best time, even if that shot goes deeper into the clock than previous years.

This makes it so that the Cougars can keep their finger jammed on the turbo button on defense. But it also means it will be harder for BYU to shoot themselves out of a funk if their open shots just aren’t falling.

There will be blowouts, but those will come almost always be after a round or two of ducking and weaving. And sometimes, like NIU, that might let a team the Cougs should beat think they are in it. UVU could easily fall into the same category.

The other part? You better believe the Wolverines will have motivation.

Last year’s win can only give them confidence. Former BYU basketball players like Isaac Neilson and Jake Toolson would bite steel to down the Cougars. And being the littlest kid on the D1 block in the state, the Wolverines will come in with an unbelievable chip on their shoulder. They are still trying to claw out a place in Utah college basketball.

So it might be gritty. You might not see a lot of #SCTop10s on Twitter. But the Cougars should still win.

And you know what? I’m okay with that.

If the BYU basketball team can play games with a black eye and sweat on the court and some bricks layed, but come out with more points than the other team, than there is no victory too ugly to relish.

And hey, you may just get another game-winning thunderdunk.