UVU head men’s basketball coach Mark Madsen couldn’t stress enough the glaring weakness in how his team played in Saturday’s 82-60 loss to BYU in the Marriott Center in Provo.
Consistency, consistency, consistency.
“I was really proud our guys and the way we battled at times,” Madsen said after the game. “I think we had some 5-to-10 minute spurts where we played very well on both sides of the ball. Consistency is what needs to be improved upon. You can’t play well for 8-to-10 minutes and then play poorly for 5-to-6 minutes. A team like BYU is too good for that and teams in our conference are going to be too good for that. Developing consistency will be extremely important for us.”
I completely agree with what Madsen said because I saw the same thing on the floor for the Wolverines against the Cougars.
UVU dominated in the early going and built an 18-8 lead. The Wolverines put together a late run that came oh-so-close (a made 3-pointer that was waved off because of a charge on the pass) to really putting the pressure on the home team.
On the flip side, however was the disastrous end of the first half where over the final 11 minutes of play UVU got outscored 30-6 by BYU.
Yeah, surrendering that type of run to a good opponent will almost always result in defeat.
I thought the Wolverines got some brilliant performances.
The two UVU players returning from last year were ready for the big stage as junior guard Trey Woodbury was spectacular in the first half on his way to 24 points while senior guard Jamison Overton was huge after the break as he tallied 21 points.
“Trey played almost 40 minutes and he was doing everything: Communicating, talking, knocking down shots,” Madsen said. “JJ (Jamison) Overton left everything on the court. He got to the free throw line 12 times. He is one of the top players in the country in terms of mid-range game and getting to the free throw line. When he knocking down his free throws, he is very, very difficult to handle.”
But Madsen also said that his team is going to need others to step up and he’s right. As good as Woodbury and Overton can be, they can’t do it without more support.
“There are opportunities on this team for players to step up, secure roles and get minutes,” Madsen said. “We are seeing some guys do that but I need others to step up and lay claim to those spots.”
Maybe some of that support will come from Georgia Tech transfer Evan Cole, Weber State transfer Tim Fuller and BYU transfer Colby Leifson, three guys who were unavailable Saturday night due to COVID-19 contact tracing and quarantining.
The reality that I believe all teams know and fans should accept is that in this unique year there are no guarantees about who will be available for any game. Everyone just has to move forward with whoever is set to get on the floor.
Madsen said he feels like after two games (UVU rolled past Adams State, 100-75, on Thursday), he has learned that this Wolverine squad is going to battle night-in and night-out.
“I’ve learned that we have a number of guys on this team who never quit, never stop playing hard and never stop communicating,” Madsen said. “We have some leaders on this team in that way. I’ve also learned that we have some young players who have talent and ability, but they are going through the learning curve. It is my job as head coach to accelerate that learning curve and get the entire team playing at a high level, at a great pace and playing through mistakes — then getting to the point where they don’t make some of those mental mistakes.”
UVU has seven games scheduled to get some of those things taken care of before WAC play starts in January and I’m optimistic that the Wolverines are going to make some big strides.
I don’t know yet if they will be enough to challenge the top teams in the league but I can tell you this: I look forward to seeing just how high this UVU team can rise in the coming months.