1 of 2
Chris Pietsch, AP
BYU's Tyler Haws, left, Frank Bartley IV, Josh Sharp, Kyle Collinsworth and Matt Carlino come together at mid-court after Oregon took the lead in overtime in an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. Oregon defeated BYU 100-96 in overtime. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

While certainly it wasn't its worst loss this season, BYU’s 100-96 overtime setback at No. 13 Oregon Saturday night probably stings the most for the Cougar players and coaches.

In the game of basketball where there are 10 athletes of all sizes running frenetically up and down and all around the court, flying through the air, making passes, setting picks and doing all kinds of other athletic things, it’s crazy how often the difference between winning and losing comes down to what happens 15 feet from the basket.

It’s crazy how often a game comes down to free throws, and that was the case in the Cougars' four-point loss to the Ducks.

BYU made just 22-of-36 shots from the charity stripe (61.1 percent), and 12 of its 14 misses came in regulation. When a game goes into overtime, it’s generally not hard to figure where points could have come from to win the game in regulation.

Missed free throws have been a problem all season for the Cougars.

For much of the night against the 13th-ranked and undefeated Pac-12 Ducks, BYU looked like the better team. Give the Cougars a lot of credit for bouncing back strong after a demoralizing blowout loss to Utah a week prior. The Cougars again proved they can play with just about anybody when they are making shots.

Overall, the game is encouraging for BYU going into West Coast Conference play.

Here are the grades for each BYU position and other aspects of the game.

Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free throw line and can be reached at: nategagon@hotmail.com or @nategagon.