Although the season is only in mid-November, the BYU basketball team picked up a quality win that will look really good come March by defeating Princeton on the road by a score of 65-56. The Cougars were powered by another great game by Elijah Bryant, who had 22 points and 7 rebounds.
In a game that was defined by both teams missing open shots and struggling to find points, Bryant did a little bit of everything for the Cougars, as he shot 9-10 from the free throw line, hit a three, and found his way into the paint. BYU only shot 43% from the field and went 6-16 from the three point line, but made up for it by shooting 25-27 from the free throw line. Princeton countered with 38% from the floor, 7-19 from three, and only shot 12 free throws, making 9 of them. Devin Cannady did his best to keep the Tigers close, scoring 19 points and really put some pressure on the Cougars defensively as multiple players struggled to stay in front of him.
There were two huge moments in this game that helped BYU secure a win. The first was after a Zac Seljaas (11 points) step back three to push the lead to 5, Princeton Coach Mitch Henderson absolutely lost his cool. He picked up a technical right after the shot went down, and then kept pushing through his assistants to pick up a second technical foul and was ejected from the game. Bryant calmly sunk all four free throws and stretched the lead to 9. The second was by Dalton Nixon. Nixon played some big minutes in a game where his mobility was valuable when other BYU bigs struggled to play against a scrappy, smaller team. With BYU up 7 and the game coming to a close, Nixon drew a charge by moving his feet and cutting off the driving Myles Stephens of Princeton.
Almost every BYU player that played had a significant impact on the game. When TJ Haws went out with 4 fouls early in the second half, Jashire Hardnett came in and played very well with 8 points and 2 steals. Haws had 10 points in a game where he was saddled with foul trouble, Nixon ended up with 4 points but was really good defensively, and Yoeli Childs struggled through constant double teams and physical play to tally 8 points and 11 rebounds. Besides Cannady, the only other Tiger in double figures was Myles Stephens who had 10 points and 8 rebounds.
BYU played well on a long road trip against a top 100 team. This should build some confidence in themselves as well as proving that if they have to grind out a defensive win, they have already done that.