LLOYD: Controlling emotion played huge role in BYU win over No. 25 Gonzaga

2014-02-20T23:00:00Z 2014-03-11T07:10:43Z LLOYD: Controlling emotion played huge role in BYU win over No. 25 GonzagaJared Lloyd - Daily Herald Daily Herald
February 20, 2014 11:00 pm  • 

One of my favorite aspects of any sporting event is the raw emotional ride it takes you on, particularly in a big game like BYU men's basketball's Thursday night showdown with No. 25 Gonzaga in the Marriott Center.

When that building is rocking, it is one incredible environment.

But for the players on the court, having all of that adrenaline and intensity and energy is like surfing an enormous wave:

They have to find the perfect balance or they end up wiping out.

Cougar head coach Dave Rose earlier in the week said it was one of the big challenges of playing at this level.

"That’s one of the real challenges to compete and yet to compete within the game," he said. "It’s a really emotional fight and there is urgency involved. You want your guys to feel the importance of possessions, of competing, of not getting beat and contesting, then still play within the framework of the game."

That's hard enough to do when it's just 10 competitive guys running up and down the court (as anyone who has played church ball knows).

But there is a lot more intensity when you add 19,136 fans into the mix like were there Thursday night rocking the court in Provo.

"You throw the fans in and that’s another challenge," Rose said. "Guys have to be in a situation where they can deal with it, where they can expect it, know it’s going to come, it’s going to be repeated and you’re just going to have to deal with it."

I thought there were plenty of times that the fans actually hurt the Cougars against the talented visiting Bulldogs by getting far too wrapped up in the decisions of the officials.

I understand the anger and frustration when you see a call go against your team but the negativity often appears distracting to the guys on the floor.

Still, a few made shots, some big defensive plays and suddenly the roar is deafening. When things get rolling for the home team, that passion from the crowd translates into that extra burst to get in a passing lane or get around a defender for a shot at the rim.

That's what BYU found in the final minutes of the big win. Every fan that was at the Marriott Center should take some personal pride in the advantage they gave their Cougars in those crucial possessions down the stretch.

But give the players credit as well for not losing their cool.

BYU star guard Tyler Haws admitted earlier in the week that it can be tough to not let yourself get carried away.

"I get stupid fouls sometimes, like in the last game (at St. Mary's) I put my head down and shoved a dude," Haws said. "I have to be smart and just focus on the little things I have to do to get a catch or get a good look. There are lots of things I can focus on to keep my emotions intact."

Cougar junior forward Nate Austin, who didn't score but played a huge role on defense in the win, said he thinks the older, more experienced guys have to take some extra responsibility.

"I think it mainly falls on the guys who have been here for awhile to make sure the younger guys understand it," Austin said. "If you get a lot of emotion, make sure it is fueling you to play hard, to play with more energy and not being a distraction for things off the court."

With the victory, now BYU has to avoid the emotional letdown that can come after a huge win. This was one the Cougars needed and they got it, but it means little if they don't finish the weekend strong.

Expect another wild emotional ride when Portland comes to town.

It's college basketball at it's finest.

Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd

-- Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd is also the beat writer for the BYU football team, the columnist for the Cougar men’s basketball team and covers a variety of Utah Valley high school athletics. He can be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.
Read more from  Jared Lloyd here.

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