What a game last night. BYU held on to win a wild one in the Marriott Center against the UNLV Rebels, 77-73. That was one of the most exciting, physical and gut-wrenching games I've ever seen.
I'm so glad BYU got the win.
We got production from unexpected places, we were able to break through UNLV's tough defense and we made free throws down the stretch. The game wasn't really decided until there were about 12 seconds left.
Man, I'm glad I was there. I hope you were there too.
Now that it's the day after, I have three thoughts I want to share.
First, we had three MVPs last night, and they're all players you wouldn't expect: Michael Loyd, Jr., Jonathan Tavernari and Noah Hartsock. Loyd was explosive. He hit three HUGE shots, and his defense and dribble penetration were incredible. His energy will be a great benefit to BYU this year.
JT finally had a big game, including one of the biggest shots of the night. Without JT we lose, and it was very good to see him find himself last night.
Hartsock was our only answer in the first half. He was the forgotten man as far as UNLV's defense was concerned, and credit our guard line for driving and then dishing it over to Noah. His 13 first-half points were crucial.
Second thought: It occurred to me last night that UNLV, not Utah, is my most hated basketball rival. I hate UNLV, and I relish any win we get over those thugs. Utah has been demoted to "meh" status. They're on the same level as, oh, Wyoming or Air Force.
Thirdly, there's nothing like the Marriott Center when it gets full and loud. Seeing a sea of fans in our student section going crazy, like they were last night, is a great sight. I hope we can expect crowds like that for the rest of the season, because when the MC crowd is behind our team we are practically invincible.
Great win last night, Cougs. Here's to another MWC conference championship.