PROVO — It’s been a rough couple of days for the BYU basketball program.
Not only did the Cougars fall in the West Coast Conference championship game to Gonzaga Tuesday night, they also received the devastating news that guard Kyle Collinsworth is out for the season with a knee injury.
On the bright side for the Cougars (23-11), who must wait until Sunday to find out their postseason fate, what they’ve accomplished since the end of January has been impressive.
Before losing to the ‘Zags, BYU had won 10 of its previous 11 games, and six in a row.
Prior to that stretch, the Cougar were coming off back-to-back losses at Portland (in triple overtime) and Gonzaga.
BYU returned home and won four in a row, including its first-ever conference win over St. Mary’s. Then came another setback — a disappointing loss at Pacific. Once again, the Cougars regrouped and rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Gaels.
Prior to Gonzaga’s visit to the Marriott Center on Feb. 20, coach Dave Rose inserted Anson Winder in the starting lineup, and it was a stroke of genius. Not only has Winder helped the Cougars defensively, but he’s averaging more than 15 points per game since becoming a starter.
Rose credits all of his players for winning so many must-win games down the stretch.
“You can’t rely on just one guy,” Rose said. “You have to have a group of guys playing their best.”
CHATMAN RETURNING SOON: BYU guard Jordan Chatman is scheduled to return from his LDS mission in Taiwan on March 29.
“We’re counting down the days," said his father, Jeff, a former Cougar star. "He loves his mission and loves the people of Taipei. He’s excited to come back and play, but he really loves his mission.”
Jeff Chatman said his son, who will be a freshman next season, is set to arrive in Provo next month.
“We’ll come down the first week of April to get him settled in,” Jeff said. “He’ll start school the last of April. He’ll do spring and summer semesters. He’ll be going to school and working out.”
LIP-SYNCING: While BYU guard Tyler Haws is known for his intensity, he showed another side of himself this season by participating in a series of BYU promotional videos that feature him lip-syncing to songs like Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration" with various teammates.
“I hope people get it’s supposed to be funny,” said Haws’ mother, Tiffanie. “It’s fun to see his personality come out. A lot of people don’t know that it’s in there with him. He’s a funny kid, and he has a funny side to him.”
NOTES: BYU made just 6 of 35 3-point attempts in its three games in the WCC tournament. While Tuesday was the Cougars’ first WCC championship game appearance, Gonzaga has played in the WCC championship game 17 straight seasons.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company