RTC Live: Utah State @ BYUPosted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2010
Game #15. BYU has graciously allowed RTC Live into the hostile environs of the Marriott Center tonight. The school has some restrictions as to how we relate and transmit information — rules which we plan to abide by — so there will be no live-blog this evening, but instead we will have our correspondent in the building periodically updating us from the game with his analysis and thoughts below.
Pregame: Utah State versus BYU has become the premier rivalry in the state of Utah and one of the best rivalries in the country. BYU has Jimmer Fredette, and he is really good at basketball. Fredette is a preseason first-team AP All-American, and he averaged over 22 points a game last season. His backcourt running mate Jackson Emery isn’t so bad either. Emery is deadly from long range and plays great defense as well, racking up a school-record 91 steals last season. Utah State will counter with Tai Wesley and a strong inside game. Wesley has a score to settle with the Cougars. He was Mr. Basketball for the state of Utah while starring at Provo High School, which is literally across the street from BYU’s Marriott Center, and his brother Mekeli also played for the Cougars. Despite all of that, Tai Wesley was overlooked by the Cougars, and because of a lapse in the series this will mark Wesley’s only chance to win a game in Provo during his career. Last year RTC Live was in Logan for this matchup when the Aggies walked away with 72-62 victory in Logan. BYU doesn’t allow live-blogging during events on their campus so there will be no traditional RTC Live for this game, but we will post a short update during media timeouts in accordance with school policy. If there’s something in particular you’d like to know about, please leave a comment below and we’ll pass it along. Join us for some commentary and insightful analysis this evening (as much as we can give)!
15:59. BYU 5, USU4. Big time college basketball atmosphere here in Provo. Tai Wesley has USU’s four points but he’s also picked up two fouls. Utah State has the advantage in the paint, but without Wesley we will have to see if they can exploit it. Brockeith Pane has drawn the unenviable assignment of guarding BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. BYU looks to have the advantage on the perimeter, Fredette has four points already.
11:02. BYU 19 USU 16. USU’s Brian Green just hit three straight threes to bring the Aggies back in the game. Tai Wesley is back in the game for the Aggies with two fouls. Jimmer Fredette has been near unstoppable, when he isn’t making buckets as much as he is setting up his teammates. Noah Hartstock just had an excellent hustle play saving the ball and nearly ended up in my lap on press row. Pooh Williams is now guarding Fredette. He played him last year in Logan, but is also dealing with a groin strain so it will be interesting to see if he can keep up.
7:55. BYU 20, USU-17. Fredette has taken his first breather of the game, so if the Aggies want to make a move this is the time to do it. Previous to the timeout Tyler Newbold did the best job of guarding Fredette so far this game, forcing a couple of turnovers from the All-American. The Aggies are nursing Wesley in and out of the game trying to prevent foul trouble, but the Utah State bigs are getting the shots they want down low but have missed a couple of gimmes.
3:09. BYU 28, USU 27. You know Fredette is an All-American because anything even remotely resembling contact draws an immediate whistle from the refs. That is especially deadly with him because he rarely misses from the stripe. The Aggies experimented with a 3-2 zone for a possession but Fredette busted a trey on that immediately; Newbold has done the closest thing to holding Fredette in check.
HALFTIME. BYU 33, USU 33. It has been a terrific basketball game so far with some questionable officiating on both sides of the game. The last four minutes got pretty chippy, with lots of bodies hitting the floor under the hoop. Both teams are battling some serious foul trouble. Nearly all major contributors for the Aggies have two fouls, and Pooh Williams got his third on the last play of the half. Jackson Emery for BYU has three fouls and only played six minutes for the Cougars, which is key because he is the release valve that keeps defenders off Fredette. Everything BYU is doing is going through Fredette, and he is either scoring or getting so much attention that he has been able to find open guys at the hoop. He has 16 points on 5-11 shooting. The Aggies leading scorer is Brian Green who kept the USU in the game early in the first half when there was not much scoring to be found with three consecutive deep balls.
15:55 (2d) BYU 45, USU 39. BYU just made their run, and the crowd here at the Marriott Center has gone to a whole other level. The Cougars have made a huge adjustment on defense, doubling up with both big guys every time Tai Wesley touches the ball. Wesley’s passing ability out of the double team will be key here, and Brady Jardine, Morgan Grim, and Matt Formisano have to pick up the slack in the post.
11:07 (2d) BYU 54, USU 53. Utah State answered the BYU run with a nine point run of their own, coming almost completely from role players. Fredette hasn’t taken a breather yet this half, and I’m not sure they can afford to take him off the court to get one. Emery has been the man for BYU in the second half, they missed his presence in the first half. USU has seven fouls so the Cougars are shooting free throws for the rest of the half.
7:55 (2d) BYU 64, USU 60. Teams are just trading punches, alternated with sloppy turnovers. Newbold is checking in for the Aggies, and should be locked on Fredette the rest of the game. Wesley is taking the Aggies on his back, and cannot be stopped with anything less than a double team right now. Pooh Williams is fighting off the groin strain and has been able to get a couple of nice defensive penetrations leading to fouls or hoops.
3:40 (2d) USU 71, BYU 69. I would highly suggest that wherever you are that you find a TV that has the MTN on it because we are officially in white knuckle territory. Free throw shooting is killing the Aggies. By my count they only have 1 make on the last 3 trips, including missing the front end of a couple one-and-one’s. In total they are only 55% from the line which isn’t going to get it done. I would expect every shot to come from Fredette for the rest of the game.
Postgame Recap. BYU 78, Utah State 72. It was a big time college basketball atmosphere tonight in Provo as BYU was able to hold off instate rival Utah State in front of 17,303 fans in the Marriott Center. The game featured nine lead changes and seven ties and was up in the air until the last two minutes. Jimmer Fredette was the star of the show. The All-American guard finished with a game high 26 points, and had 5 assists and 3 steals to go along with the scoring. Fredette carried the Cougars for long stretches, especially in the first half when backcourt mate Jackson Emery was sitting on the bench with three fouls. For Utah State the game turned in the final two minutes when Tai Wesley fouled out for throwing his elbows after a steal. The referees decided that it was an intentional foul and it gave BYU two free throws and the ball in what was then a three-point game. It was a tough game to swallow for the Aggie coaches and players who came so close to beating a top 25 in-state rival on the road. Cougar fans however, can breathe a sigh of relief that they survived one of their toughest challenges in the non-conference season.