PROVO — Hearts were heavy throughout Provo with the passing of legendary football coach LaVell Edwards, and many of those hearts were in attendance during the BYU men's basketball team's 89-59 win over Santa Clara on Thursday.
One of those full with thoughts of Edwards throughout the evening was BYU coach Dave Rose, who had some kind and heart-felt words for Edwards following the win.
“I think we all have heavy hearts — especially those who have followed BYU sports for years,” Rose said. “We all know what he’s done, not only for our university, but for the state of Utah, and for the city of Provo. It’s a sad day.”
Although Rose heads the basketball program, his interactions with BYU's most famous football coach were plentiful and meaningful.
“He was what I consider a good friend and a great support of BYU basketball,” Rose said. “I love seeing him at the games, and I’ll miss that. I’ll miss the interaction I’ve had with him, and he always seems to know exactly a coach is in his season. When I’d see him in March, he’d have the right words, and when I saw him in July, he’d have the right words.”
STADIUM LIT AND A MOMENT OF SILENCE: The stadium named after LaVell Edwards was fully lit in his honor, catching the notice of fans as they made their way to the Marriott Center.
Then, before the start of the game, there was a moment of silence held, followed shortly by a video shown during a timeout, honoring Edwards' memory. The video featured commentary by both BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and football coach Kalani Sitake.
KAUFUSI APPLAUDED: Thursday's win marked the first game action from Corbin Kaufusi this season. The 6-foot-10 center, who played a significant role for the BYU football team this past season, entered the game with 8:20 left, to many cheers.
“I think the most exciting thing for the crowd was when Corbin went in,” Rose said.
Kaufusi played four minutes and missed his only shot taken while committing one foul.
BRYANT WORKING HIS WAY BACK: Injured guard Elijah Bryant was dressed, although he remained on the bench and was considered "inactive," according to Rose.
"He's kind of in another spot, as far as his protocol is concerned," Rose said. "So he's allowed to do more it's good to see him in uniform."
Rose said that Bryant can now go through all the warm-ups and is hoping the 6-foot-5 sophomore can rejoin the team by mid-January.