The numbers from BYU's 86-77 loss Saturday to New Mexico in The Pit shows the Cougars failed to do what they've done best all season - defend.
Entering the game the Cougars were holding opponents to 40 percent shooting. The Lobos, who really heated up in their late comeback, hit 49 percent of their shots. New Mexico stayed in the game by punishing the Cougars in the paint, and then stormed back with long-range shooting. Even though they only hit 6 of 17 from 3-point range, they made four of their final six shots from behind the arch to put BYU in panic mode.
There's another telling number that shows why the Cougars faded down the stretch, and that's the minutes played mainly by six guys. Reserve center James Anderson saw a few minutes on the court, but the rest of the game was handled by the starting five and Charles Abouo.
Abouo had a nice game with nine points on 4 of 8 shooting, but those points were BYU's only bench points. Meanwhile, the Lobos had 30 bench points from five reserves. The Cougars were clearly the tired team down the stretch.
Dairese Gary, who burned the Cougars with points and free throws in last season's win at The Pit, killed BYU Saturday with his court management, breaking down BYU's defense time and time again and dishing out 10 assists.
Three other Lobos really played big roles in the upset. Freshman guard Kendall Williams scored 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting, forward Drew Gordon dominated inside with 15 points and 12 boards, and reserve guard Tony Snell drilled four huge 3-pointers in the second half.
The Cougars' lack of depth and balance in recent games finally caught up to them. Jimmer Fredette got his 32 points on 12 of 26 shooting and Brandon Davies had another nice game with 15 points, but the rest of the starting five was only 6 of 19. We've already discussed BYU's lack of depth and bench scoring.
Fredette also failed to get to the line as much as normal, shooting only five free throws and making only two. As a team the Cougars were only 13 of 20 from the line.
One thing the Cougars did well that helped them be in charge for most of the way, despite their poor shooting, was rebound. They held the Lobos to only seven offensive boards and matched them in total rebounds at 33.
The Cougars also managed to stay in front most of the game with 10 steals and only 10 turnovers. And despite losing the battle inside BYU's bigs stayed out of foul trouble, combining for only three fouls at the half and finishing with only six total fouls.
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