by Daniel Olsen
Nearly every Division I basketball team squared off on the palindrome night of Thursday, 1/21/21. What were the key stats to know? Let’s take a look at the best of the night.
Best Scorer: Matt Haarms – BYU
Haarms was not only the leader of the BYU offense. He was the leader of the state. While his 23 points were the second highest of the night (see Weber State for the highest), he was a perfect 9-9 from the field. He also made a three-pointer and went 4-4 from the charity stripe. There’s not much that Haarms did wrong as he was impeccable as far as putting the ball in the hoop is concerned. He led the Cougars to the highest point total in the state for the night with a 95-67 victory.
Best Defender: Neemias Queta
This was tough because the Aggies snapped their 11-game win streak with an 84-76 loss to Colorado State. However, that wasn’t all on Queta. He recorded five rebounds but also made his presence felt with a pair of steals and blocks as well. When he wasn’t doing that, he was altering shots the best he could while in foul trouble.
As a team, the Aggies gave up 84 points which was the most they had allowed since the season opener when they lost 85-69 to VCU. Queta played just 27 minutes which was down six minutes from the win over the Rams on Tuesday night. It proves just how valuable he is. This team can be defeated when they don’t shoot well, the other team does shoot well and their center isn’t logging big minutes to protect the paint. The Aggies still tried to mount a comeback but it was a little too late as the Rams made their free throws to thwart the foul game.
The Aggies will look to start a new win streak when they travel to Las Vegas to play UNLV on Monday night. Hopefully the memory of winning three straight the last time they played there in the 2020 Mountain West Conference Tournament will help Queta lead the Aggies to victory.
Best Dynamic Duo: Weber State
While we gave Haarms the “best scorer” title of the night, there are two Weber State Wildcats who have a case for that title. Cody Carlson and Isiah Brown combined for 47 points in a 91-67 victory. Carlson was slightly better in this game. Both players attempted 13 shots from the field. Carlson made ten of his shots while the team leading scorer Brown made seven of his. It was great to see these players make more shots than they miss. Carlson went 2-3 from the three-point line, while Brown was 2-5 from long distance. While he can still dominate in other ways, it’s a little easier to be the leading scorer when Brown is on fire from deep. He is still the best player on the team but just for this night he was the Robin to Carlson’s Batman in this dynamic duo.
Best bench player: Riley Battin Utah
This Utah forward proved to be just the player the Runnin’ Utes needed off the bench in their convincing 71-56 win over the Washington State Cougars. He had 12 points and four rebounds with just 16 minutes off the bench. The rebounds were especially valuable as the rest of the Utes bench recorded only three combined boards. The Utes dominated the glass as they out-rebounded the Cougars 32-25 overall. Battin is the second leading rebounder and sixth leading scorer on the team so his contributions are crucial if the Utes are going to qualify for any kind of tournament.
Whether you’re a Ute, Aggie, Cougar or Wildcat, these players are talented athletes that college hoops fans in the Beehive State can be excited about!
Photo © Salt Lake Tribune