BYU basketball report card: Star guards devastate the Cardinal defense
A total of 215 points is a lot in any basketball game. In a 40-minute college game, it is nearly unheard of.
Fortunately for BYU fans, the Cougars scored 112 of those points in a memorable road win over the Stanford Cardinal on ESPN 2 Monday night, winning 112-103 in a contest that wasn’t that close. The Cougar offense was about as good as it gets, putting up nearly three points per minute — at a rate that would equate to 134 points in an NBA game.
BYU started hot and stayed that way as guards Kyle Collinsworth, Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws took turns controlling the game, with contributions at key times from big men Eric Mika and Nate Austin, and steady play off the bench from guards Anson Winder and Frank Bartley IV. The Cougar defense was not exactly a stone wall, as evidenced by the scoreboard, but BYU had spurts of aggressive takeaway defense that were sufficient to take over the game.
It was the kind of road win against a power conference team that, more often than not, has escaped BYU. Stanford has been an underachieving program the last few years, having not made the NCAA Tournament since 2008. Since 2010 in particular, however, the Cardinal has had great success in recruiting, and this is the year many expect that recruiting to finally pay off with an NCAA Tournament run.
According to Scout.com, Stanford received commitments from five 4-star players and five 3-star players from 2010-12, so the talent is certainly there — at least on paper. In fact, junior point guard Chasson Randle, senior power forward Dwight Powell and junior small forward Anthony Brown were all rated in the top 12 at their respective positions coming out of high school.
The season has not started quite as impressively as Stanford fans hoped it would, with the team escaping Bucknell by only four points, 72-68, on its home court. Certainly after Monday night’s game, any pessimism Cardinal fans may have felt will only deepen. Meanwhile, Dave Rose’s group may very well be a legitimate top-25 team this season and could rise in the rankings if it can continue to build momentum going into games against Iowa State, Texas and Utah State the latter part of this month.
Nathan Gagon is a finance manager by day and writer/musician by night, but mostly he is a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life around the clock. Oh, and he shoots about 94 percent from the free-throw line ... no big deal.
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