Game Notes: First Round Running Diary
Live from Louisville/Morehead State, Vanderbilt/Richmond, BYU/Wofford, and St. Johns/Gonzaga.
Before the Pepsi Center crowd could be emptied and filled for Session #2, BYU and Wofford got things going. As thousands of BYU fans poured in with Jimmer Fredette jerseys and an alarming amount of signage, the game got off to a spirited start.
5:15: Love the loud Wofford group behind us. Jimmer has been pretty quiet so far. He promptly stutter-steps his man; drives baseline and gets a nifty And-1. Five minutes in and the Cougars have a 7-6 lead.
5:25: Jimmer goes coast-to-coast for another And-1. His change of pace might be his biggest strength.
5:26: The lone Wofford sign I peep talks of the Minnesota Mafia. Yes, despite being a South Carolina (Spartanburg) school, the Terriers start three guys from Minnesota, including the Southern Conference Player of the Year, Noah Dahlman.
5:35: Jimmer hits another little leaner in the lane (I get some alliterative bonus points, eh?) to give the Cougs a 4-point lead at 14-10.
5:39: Three straight Wofford baskets (the last being a Cameron Rundles 3-pointer) give the Terriers a 17-14 advantage
5:56: I had to take a wee break to use the john, refresh my post-dinner coffee and check in on the family. I come back into the arena to a 25-all game. Another good game?
5:57: Jimmer sets up an easy score; then follows that with a long three-pointer. BYU 30-25 with 2 and a half left in the first half. Jimmer has been mostly tame (attempted only 8 shots), but now has 12 points.
6:02 Wofford hanging tough (ala NKOTB) trailing by just a bucket. Jimmer is getting fouled and not getting calls; frustration flows from the 6-2 senior guard all the way to the thousands of screaming Cougar fans in attendance.
6:05: After a BYU intentional foul call, Dahlman proceeds to clank three straight free-throws.
6:06: Jimmer promptly nails a DEEP 3-pointer to end the half with BYU leading 33-29. After two amazing games, I assume this would be the blow-out of the group. Although that could surely still transpire, a four-point halftime means there will be a competitive second-half.
6:08: Verne Lundquist has been in front of me all day long. His wife found a nearby seat during this third game. They are super cute interacting with each other. Mrs. Lundquist has a permanent smile and as Verne got up for a halftime break, she exclaimed, “Hey babe, how’s it going?” Again, super cute together.
6:29: Second half gets started. I hear some BYU fans behind exclaim that Jimmer is going to “go off” and get 20 this half. His 15 first-half points were about as quiet as they could be.
6:32: A BYU steal leads to a Jimmer breakaway. “Is Jimmer gonna dunk!?!?!” Nope. BYU leads by six.
6:35: The teams are trading baskets. Well, Jimmer is trading them with Wofford. With 14 left in the game, he now has 23. Dahlman has an efficient 17 on just seven shot attempts.
6:45: BYU just can’t pull away. Every time that it looks like they are due to make things double-digit, they can’t seem to get the necessary stops. With just over 11 left, the Cougars do lead by 8, but the game is surely still in the balance with plenty of time. If BYU can string together defensive stops, they could put the Terriers away. But it hasn’t happened yet.
6:50: An intentional foul is called on BYU’s Noah Hartsock. Usually, I think the refs are a little too “intentional-happy,” but this one was a blatant push in the back. Still the Cougars cling to a 7-point advantage with less than 9 minutes to play.
7:02: The last half-hour, it seems that BYU has led by 7-9. They have never made it a double-digit deficit and with 5:37 remaining, the lead is again, 8.
7:07: BYU gets a few stops and Charles Abouo’s driving lay-up FINALLY gives the Cougs a double-digit lead at 61-51 at the 4:30 mark.
7:09: Wofford is starting to wear down. They can’t hit shots and Abouo hits his third straight to make it a 14-point advantage.
7:17: BYU is winding down this game. I thought we might see another close game, but the underdogs from Spartanburg just ran out of steam against a superior team. I guess all the games CAN’T be buzzer-beaters.
7:20: Jimmer nails three late-game free throws to give him a quiet 32 on 10-25 shooting. The nation’s leading scorer also chipped in with 7 assists as his team held on for a 74-66 win.