The Cougars have had plenty of second-half meltdowns this season, but Craig Cusick saved this one from going down as perhaps the worst of the year for Cougar fans, given that BYU was playing archrival Utah State and not a foe from the West Coast Conference it has little history with.
Cusick's rebound basket with less than a second left gave BYU a 70-68 win over Utah State. He was following a miss by Matt Carlino, who was asked to penetrate and look for an open shooter, but pulled up near the three-point line and let it fly.
"That final play was what we drew up," said BYU coach Dave Rose.
Rose continued: "We thought we would get a little more penetration off that ball screen, so that would allow us to see if they would give help. That would open up the corners or allow Matt to take it all the way to the rim. We got a clean look, though.
It didn't go in, but with the time difference, we could send all five guys to the glass. We sent them all in, and Craig got a clean look. That was a huge basket for him. This was a big win for our team."
Cusick's story gets even better -- or worse, as the case may be. The senior learned just hours before the game that his father, Randy, has been diagnosed with cancer. Craig Cusick was more emotional than usual in the postgame news conference, but did not mention his father's health.
Randy Cusick collapsed last Sunday, and was rushed to the hospital. Doctors found a cancerous tumor on Tuesday afternoon.
"Craig's got ice in his veins," Tyler Haws said at the same news conference. "Things don't get to him very easily. I remembert earlier in the year, he hit a couple game-winners in practice. That's the kind of person he is. He is calm in those situations and is ready to make a big shot."
Here's how Cusick described the shot:
"Hard to explain. As a player, you couldn't dream it any better. I was just fortunate. Coach called a great play. I saw that when Matt shot it that there was a chance that it was going to be a little bit short. I ran where I thought it was going to come off, and I was fortunate.the ball came to me. It's great that I made the shot, but I have to give credit to my teammates who pulled us through the rest of the way."
That's it for now. More on this classic Utah State-BYU game in front of 16,569 at the Marriott Center on Wednesday.
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