So when I saw that TCU was leading 34-33 at halftime, I typed "brainteaser" into Google image search, because trying to determine how we were actually winning the game was the biggest brainteaser of all time. The above picture is what came up. In a way, a cow swimming and jumping through waves next to a dolphin makes more sense than what was going on in the desert at that time. Just think about it.
Alas, it was not to be... but holy balls did the Frogs make it interesting. Like, INSANELY interesting. Like, with 15 seconds left the score was 60-58 after Greg Hill hit back to back 3's, including one he converted into a 4-point play. But, as the Cougars have done all year, they got the ball to Jimmer who made both of his free throws, and then TCU ran a completely out of left field play that they haven't run all year where Hank Thorns drives to the basket and gets blocked, at which point BYU made a couple of more freebies and ran it out. The game ended 64-58 and the dozen Frog fans in attendance will be forced to push the game out of their minds with ample amounts of booze, gambling and big fake American breasts that can be toyed with for a nominal fee. I have a feeling they'll manage.
I could turn this into a "What If?" post - like, what if our entire team wasn't in foul trouble for the majority of the second half? What if we actually had a halfway ingenius play we could run at the end of close games? Or what if Ronnie Moss had been available to shut down Jimmer? - but I won't because that wouldn't be doing it justice. BYU is a better team than we are, despite the close call, and were going to win this game all along. But, I can honestly say based on the stats and the broadcast that this had to have been the hardest the Frogs have played all year. I'll hand it to Thorns - he came into the game running his mouth and absolutely backed it up. He finished with 15 points, 5 boards and 6 assists and has to feel good about his effort, especially his 3/4 from behind the arc. Greg Hill, too, can enter the non-basketball era of his life knowing that he went out swinging, keeping the game super interesting at the end and ending his day with 15 points and 5 boards. Garlon Green and Cadot finished with 11 and 12 points, respectively, with Cadot fouling out.
What ultimately undid the Frogs was foul trouble, free throw shooting and depth. Thorns, Cadot and Cerina all entered the second half with three fouls each and played with 4 for the majority of the game post-halftime. However, it didn't seem to really limit our defense too much, or not as much as expected. The Frogs also only made 9/15 from the line, which is something that Christian needs to work very, very hard on with the team over the summer. And as for depth, well, we only played Jarvis Ray, Nikola Gacesa and Amric Fields off the bench. Their combined line? 1 point, 2 rebounds and 1 assist. That won't get it done against anyone, let alone the #8 team in the country.
I really don't have much more to say other than that - the guys played hard. They wanted to win and believed they could win. To play a team that has owned you like BYU has and take them into the final seconds when no one gave you a chance is an admirable thing and something these guys will have to hang their hats on this off-season. They know how close they came; now they just have to figure out how to win the close ones. I'll be damned, but I can't help but be a little giddy about the future of this team next year. With Thorns, Moss, Cadot, Green and Cerina back, and with BYU and Utah moving on to other areas of interest, I think we've got a shot. Kawhi Leonard will be gone from San Diego, and lightning surely can't strike twice in Fort Collins, right? Boise has a less than adequate basketball program, we'll figure out Air Force and Wyoming, which only leaves New Mexico and UNLV in our way. What's to stop these guys from finally turning this thing around, for real this time?
Oh no! It's happening again! Just like it always does...