BYU and St. Mary’s: a tale of two breakdowns

BYU's Brandon Davies fouled out with the Cougars clinging to a one-point lead with less than two minutes to play, and that foul sent St. Mary's star Matthew Dellavedova to the line. Delly, a 90% free throw shooter, only made one. Tie game. At that point most Gaels' fans would have have gladly taken overtime, where BYU would be without its star big.

But overtime wasn't in the cards. The teams traded missed baskets, and then Tyler Haws made a 19-foot turnaround with a hand in his face. It put the Cougars up two, but Delly knocked down a jumper on the other end and it was tied. Again, Gaels fans gladly would have taken overtime, as there were only 35 seconds left and BYU had the ball and the final shot.

While they were milking the clock down to its final ticks, everyone in the stadium knew the ball was going to Tyler Haws. He already had 21 points, and at 6-5, he was matchup problem for any of the St. Mary's guards.

Here's where St. Mary's made a mistake.

Since BYU had the final shot, it didn't really matter how points were scored. One was as good as two, and two was as good as three. At least if BYU executed properly. But here, Haws is getting a screen (circled) with only 9.3 seconds left and the ball near mid-court. The Gaels obviously don't want to foul (both teams were in double bonus) but they need to slow down Haws to allow his defender (Stephen Holt) to keep up.

Haws slips past the two help defenders with little resistance and is able to get the pass on the right wing. But again Stephen Holt (circled) gets no help. He's waiving madly for freshman Jordan Giusti to step down and cut off Haws from going middle, but Giusti freezes. Had he helped on Haws the best BYU option would have been a Carlino 3-pointer, and he's a 31% shooter. Instead Haws rolls over his right shoulder and knocks down an impressive 12-footer for what seemed like the win.

As the ball clears the basket there is roughly 3-seconds left. For BYU in that situation there's one player who cannot get the inbounds pass, and that's Matthew Dellavedova. He's a senior, he's played at the highest level of International play, and he constantly has the ball in his hands so he's comfortable. The Cougars had to force it to anyone else, and luckily they had all five guys (arrows) in decent position to go after Dellavedova. Someone – anyone – should have had that responsibility.

Instead, they not only let Delly catch the ball (arrow), but they allow him to do it almost 30' from the baseline (line).

This last picture isn't really a breakdown. More, it's just a nod to a great player. Dellavedova, with two seconds in which to work, needs to have the defender off his left shoulder to get off a clean shot (he's right handed). And this is no knock on the BYU defender – the LAST thing he wants in that situation is to put himself in a position where the ref can call a foul – but Delly goes straight at him and then Euro-steps (circle) his way into space. Who does this? As the clock is ending, 40-feet away from the basket, in front of 20,000 hostile fans?

Two teams, two defensive mistakes. One resulted in a high probability shot when the defensive team should have forced a low probability shot. And one resulted in any shot at all when none should have been available. Game over.

The video: