Another slow start dooms BYU in 88-68 loss to Marquette
Beware the Ides of March. I just wrote three stories for publication on today's 88-68 loss for BYU to powerful Marquette of the Big East Conference, and didn't mention that it was March 15, so I figured I was allowed here. Really, the Cougars should have been more aware of MU's sensational senior tandem of Jae Crowder and Darius Odom-Johnson, who combined for 45 points and 21 rebounds Crowder had a career-high 16 caroms in the easy win over BYU at KFC Yum! Center this afternoon. Assuming you saw it, so no rehash is in order, only to say the Cougars were outrebounded 48-34, outscored 36-22 in the paint, gave up 18 second-chance points and committed 17 turnovers. Oh yeah, they shot only 37.7 percent and missed seven free throws, too. You just can't knock off one of the top teams in the country playing that way. So the season ends for BYU, which finishes 26-9 in its first season without Jimmer and Jackson. By the way, the Cougars also missed missionary Kyle Collinsworth, whose athleticism and ability to rebound well for his size was also sorely missed today. Of course, he will be back. The Cougars and coach Dave Rose were gracious in the postgame podium session, crediting Marquette playing a dominating game and controlling it from start to finish. "They played outstanding," Rose said. "I thought it was a really hardfought battle. They came out with great energy, and we had a hard time early in the game, rebounding their misses, and they scored a lot on second shots. Then I thought we got that corrected, and then they just made plays. ... Marquette was just too good today. So my congratulations to them." Not a lot of other revelations in the news conference, except that Rose said Noah Hartsock's ankle was very, very sore today and the reason why he wasn't able to get a single rebound. Of course, it was another frustrating start for the Cougars. After falling behind 18-5, they actually played evenly with the Golden Eagles, even outplayed them at times. But the damage was done. Why did the Cougars get off to another poor start? "That's tough," said Hartsock. "Just it just happens. It just seems like that's what's been happening. We were able to make that run [Tuesday] night, but we knew tonight, if we didn't have a great start, it would be a really tough time to get back in it. Sometimes, that's just how the game flows and how the season goes." When I asked Rose the same question, he was less cordial, perhaps put off by the suggestion that somehow it is the coaches' fault. "I think we've played some pretty good teams," he said. That's it. The Golden Eagles and coach Buzz Williams were also gracious towards BYU in their postgame remarks, especially Williams, who said, "I think BYU is a really good team. I think their frontcourt causes a lot of problems, because you almost have to trap those two guys [Hartsock and Davies]." Williams shared what he told his team at halftime when it was ahead by 15 points. Inappropriate? You be the judge. "We're up 15 at half, made a really big play the last possession of the half, and I told our team, as soon as I walked in, 'guys, their coach was supposed to die of cancer. They're not going to quit. And you guys watched the game on Tuesday. They're not quitting."