After losing five of their last seven games, the Cougars finally got a dominant win.
Ever since BYU dropped back to back head scratchers against Santa Clara and and Pacific that Cougars have looked really, well…bad. Despite winning two games since then, the Cougars needed overtime to beat LMU and narrowly escaped last place Pepperdine.
Things started to turn a bit against St. Mary’s when the Cougars roared back in the second half being down 16 points and ultimately making it a one possession game late. Finally, on Thursday the Cougars appeared to be back from the opening tip.
This does have to be taken with a grain of salt. This was the second worst team in the WCC without their star center who has given BYU fits the last two seasons. LMU doesn’t have much to play for at this point and they may already have their foot out the door for this season.
What I saw however, doesn’t matter. BYU is back.
For the first time in what feels like a month, the offense was running an offense! There was an inside to outside passing game, a staple in the Mark Pope offense. And that has nothing to do with who BYU was playing, it has to do with BYU getting their identity back.
Equally impressive, it wasn’t a one man show. The Cougars weren’t relying on Alex Barcello. It was Te’Jon Lucas who led the team with only 14 points. If your leading scorer is 14 points and the team puts up 79 points, that is a great sign. Six players scored eight points or more. The team scored 33 times on 23 assists (70%).
For someone who did not watch the game, this will just look like an average game. For someone who has watched this team struggle to get anything offensively the last seven games, this was a breakout game. This is the kind of game that gives me hope that maybe, just maybe BYU can make a run here, schedule another game and end on a five game winning streak before facing the Zags in WCC semi-final.
Is the NCAA Tourney still a long shot? Absolutely. But if they find a way to get there as an 11 seed, I’d hate to be the six seed facing them.