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The failure to beat Gonzaga was not solely due to the team having a poor shooting performance. The problems with this years team and far too many of Coach Rose’s past teams are multifaceted. Those problems would include a total lack of an inside offensive attack (or even a meaningful presence), a lack of an effective half court offense, a reliance on a run and gun offense even on those nights when outside shots are not falling, an inability to make free throws at an effective rate and a defense which frequently disappears at critical moments or even for an entire game.
This years team relies far too much upon Collingsworth having great games night after night. When he is not on or is not on the court the team offense frequently becomes stagnant. When he was benched for 6 minutes or so in the first half because of his two fouls the team offense disappeared.
BYU has not had an effective half court offense for years. Our half court offensive seems to consist of handing the ball to Collingsworth and letting him drive to the basket. When he has a poor shooting night-and he has had a few this year- or when he faces tall and athletic inside defensive pressure, BYU is typically in trouble. It’s no secret that the teams that give BYU the most trouble year after year are those teams that slow down the tempo and force the Cougars to play a half court game. Gonzaga, St Mary’s and Pepperdine of late have had the ability to dictate the tempo of games. San Diego and Loyola have had some recent success at home in slowing the game down to the point where a cold shooting BYU team was in trouble. You would think that after years of such experiences that the coaching staff would have developed a Plan B for such occasions.
Why BYU is so woeful in shooting free throws is a mystery. There are nights when the team almost shoots at a higher percentage from 3 point range than from the free throw line. There is plenty of evidence that teams and individuals can learn to effectively shoot free throws. That learning does not seem to be in evidence for this team. in fact we have even seen players shoot air balls form the free throw line