LOUISVILLE — It was strange for sure.
For the second-straight game, BYU fell behind an NCAA opponent on Thursday and looked out of it only to make a series of runs. When BYU cut Marquette’s 49-34 halftime lead to six at 52-46 after ripping off a 12-2 run, people began to thing they’d see another repeat of the Iona game Tuesday.
But the No. 11 ranked Golden Eagles made short order of BYU’s hopes by answering with eight straight points and never looked back here in the KFC Yum! Arena, home of the Louisville Cardinals.
“It felt like the same emotions we had Tuesday, coming back at it,” said junior Brock Zylstra. “There were just a couple of plays we didn’t make to get it under five and that would have put a lot of pressure on them. The whole time, we felt we would come back and win but we couldn’t get it done.”
Marquette coach Buzz Williams said he warned his team about BYU and potential comebacks. “I told our team‑‑ I mean, they watched the game from Tuesday as well. They’re down 25 points with five minutes to go in the first half and end up winning the game. It’s well‑documented that’s the largest comeback in NCAA Tournament history,” said Williams.
“We’re up 15 at half, made a really big play the last possession of the half, and I told our team, as soon as I walked in, guys, their coach was supposed to die of cancer. They’re not going to quit. And you guys watched the game on Tuesday. They’re not quitting.
And so similar to what Jae said, not that their run justifies it, but I think that good teams are going to make runs, and I think the response of our guys, for the most part, was very sound fundamentally on both ends.”
Yes it was.
Still, there was a few moments when people in the arena were scratching their heads and wondering if BYU had it in them.
“Yes, it felt just like that,” said junior Brock Zylstra.
“I thought it was possible, so did our team,” said Charles Abouo.
Marquette ended up outscoring the Cougars 36-22 at that moment the Cougars came within six points, a sign of an outstanding team.
I thought BYU was outmatched in this game with better athletes, speed and strength. When Noah Hartsock got in foul trouble while the Cougars were trying to find ways to attack the Golden Eagles, they were doomed.
But they did fight hard after intermission before getting run hard by the No. 3 seed.
The Cougars could sure use a certain recruit who lives in Chicago.