BYU Coach Dave Rose
You can lay this one squarely on Dave Rose.
After coming off what seemed like the biggest high one can possibly get in Provo, Utah, in Wednesday's upset of No. 4 ranked San Diego State, the Cougs' were trying to avoid an upset of their own on Saturday afternoon at the Pit against New Mexico.
And it wasn't because of lack of effort, it was because of a lack of game management from the sidelines.
With the Cougars leading by 13 points and under 15 minutes to play, the Lobos went on a 10-0 run while Dave Rose methodically waited for a TV timeout to stop the bleeding.
That's right, while the crowd got louder, and the Lobos got their mojo going, Rose didn't budge even though he had a pocket full of TO's burning a hole in his suit pants.
When the TV timeout finally came, it was too late for BYU, the game had changed, the crowd was at fever pitch and the Lobos smelled Cougar blood in the water.
New Mexico would win going away, 86-77.
Don't get me wrong, I have all the respect in the world for Coach Dave Rose but come on? He allowed a 13-point lead late in the game to dwindle to nothing without using a timeout.
Should Coach Rose have used his own timeouts to stop the 11-0 2nd half Lobo run?
Did Coach Rose forget he was playing in the Pit? A place where few teams ever come out unscathed?
Did Coach Rose forget he had the best player on the floor, and if he had just used even one of his own timeouts to get him rest during that run, he could have not only broke up the Lobo momentum but avoided having to pull Fredette out of the game because he was too tired during the above mentioned Lobo blitzkrieg?
And what was with the determination to stick with a zone defense when the Lobos were burying three balls like their very lives depended on it?
It seemed like the entire second half was a BYU clinic on how NOT to cover the corners while playing a weak zone defense.
I know, I know, at some point you have to hold the players on the floor responsible as well.
Such as Jackson Emery. Did he go on vacation? Did he know BYU had two of the toughest three games of the year this week?
Hopefully, he returns soon and realizes if he just shoots near 50 percent, BYU won't lose a game until at least late March.
Also, if Kyle Collinsworth is going to get 30 minutes per game, he needs to deliver more than five points, right?
To the Lobos credit, they did not give up.
They could have very easily wilted when Fredette's three-ball pushed the lead to 53-40 with 14:42 to play, but they didn't. And you have to credit Steve Alford and his young team for fighting back.
But what was clearly evident, is that the BYU coaching staff showed a definite lack of respect for the Lobos capability to not only come back and make it a game, but to win going away.
It was a frustrating final 15 minutes to watch for Cougar fans, knowing a possible top five ranking was on the line.
However, Dave Rose didn't seem to value any of it, as he used his timeouts like it was a summer camp pick up game.
What's amazing is that Coach Rose didn't use a timeout of his own until the Cougars were down three points with 4:47 to play.
That is quite simply, unbelievable and unacceptable.
To be fair, it's not the first time a coach has been burned by painfully waiting for the TV timeout.
But Rose should know better. He has too much experience to have blown a 13-point lead in a hostile environment without using a TO.
Especially with so much on the line.
It was a huge loss, as now, no matter what BYU finishes like, they will be no higher than a No. 6 or No. 7 seed come tournament time.
Maybe BYU will learn from this game, maybe they won't, but all I know is that 13-point second half leads don't grow on trees, and unused timeouts don't carry over to the next game.
Can you say squandered?