No one could believe it. Especially not Noah Hartsock. He missed one open jumpshot from the baseline Wednesday, then another and another.
Finally, during a break in the action he looked like a kid — practicing his form, elbow up, flick the wrist.
The Cougar senior figured it out again soon enough, even as there wasn't exactly a ton of pressure at the Marriott Center to calibrate.
BYU swarmed Weber State, 94-66, in what was supposed to arguably be a matchup of the two best teams in the state.
That was one "supposedly." The other was that Weber State's star guard could really determine the game.
Damian Lillard had a double-double early in the half, but that came as he only had 11 points midway through the second half. The nation's leading scorer finished with 15 points (a little over half his average) along with 10 rebounds.
In other words, not nearly enough.
Instead, the outcome was determined not by WSU's 6-foot-2 guard but rather by the Cougar post players.
Hartsock wound up securing a double-double by halftime, while center Brandon Davies and his backup, continually helpful Nate Austin, were all effective in running the Wildcats back to Ogden.
By the time Austin and Davies put themselves in double-double range, WSU had been coaxed into losing for the 19th time in as many tries in Provo. The Wildcats trailed 47-34 at halftime. They were behind, 22-20, before it grew out of hand.
Sturdier, more competitive practices have begun to fuel a team that junior guard Brock Zylstra says is bent on "being the aggressor" from the very first seconds of the game. BYU shot 50 percent for the game, including 63 percent (making 21 of 33 shots) in the final 20 minutes.
"Effort has been the story line for us as coaches the past two games," BYU coach Dave Rose said, counting last Saturday's blowout of Oregon.
It would be the last time that former star guard Jimmer Fredette would get to see his old teammates at his old arena, where he will one day have his No. 32 jersey retired. He'll head to Sacramento next week to start his career as a professional basketball player.
He sat in his usual NBA-lockout perch, right behind the team bench.
The Cougars gave him a nice going-away performance, and themselves a nice going-forward boost.
Lillard was no Jimmer, as he missed 7-of-12 shots in 31 minutes. So much for that 28.2 points per game average. Fredette had to feel good seeing his old pals protect his honor.
Meanwhile Hartsock, after the slow start, eventually got around to being himself. He led everyone with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Davies has been slowed down lately, by either foul trouble or shooting woes. But he came through more often when he let the ball left his hand, hitting 5-of-11 shots including some real doozies. And it didn't even matter which hand released the rock. The natural right-hander hit that way from a variety of angles, but he also at one point softly swished a lefty hook.
The junior had 11 points and nine rebounds, while the Cougars also had four players with 15 points apiece.
Austin, a towering freshman with the potential to match, was one of them. He had his third consecutive valuable game (15 points, nine rebounds). It also included another 3-point make.
He made it a 53-36 score from the top of the key for what was BYU's biggest lead briefly, before Charles Abouo (also chipping in 15) added one on the next possession and Hartsock followed with a patented jumper.
Stephen Rogers off the bench made 6-of-10 shots and starting wing player Zylstra also added 15 for the Cougars, who improved to 7-2 with a visit set Saturday to struggling (that's an understatement) Utah on Saturday afternoon.
And don't forget Craig Cusick's eight assists as the backup point guard, as he helped Anson Winder in slowing down Lillard.
"It shows we have a lot of guys who can play," Hartsock said.
Things were going so well, rusty freshman Damarcus Harrison — who airballed a long shot in the first half — stuck in a nice step-back jumper from about 19 feet with five minutes remaining.
Though Harrison is finding out just how tough this level can be, and how good the Cougars are getting.
BYU had a fast-break chance leading 86-54. Harrison appeared to snare a rebound, only a trailing Austin swooped the ball from him accidentally to score another two points for himself by the rim.
"Competition on our team is starting to become a real factor in the minutes that are being played," Rose said. "I think competition is the most healthy thing for improvement."