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BYU Basketball “Tripps” up in devastating road loss at Pacific

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BYU had shown signs of improvement on defense this season, but they took a significant step backwards, allowing Pacific to shoot 52% from the field in a game they should have been able to close out fairly comfortably.

NCAA Basketball: Portland at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

A season high 29 points from Elijah Bryant was not enough for the BYU Cougars (13-4, 2-2), who suffered a 67-66 loss against the Pacific Tigers (7-10, 2-2) at the Spanos Center in Stockton, California on Saturday night. Yoeli Childs managed to score 13 points (12 in the second half), but T.J. Haws once again struggled on offense, finishing with just 7 points on 3/10 shooting. The Pacific guards had no issues driving past the BYU defenders into the lane for most of the game, led by Jahlil Tripp’s 22 points on 8/13 shooting (7/9 from inside the arc).

Bryant scored 7 quick points on a baseline drive, mid-range jumper, and a three pointer to propel the Cougars to a 14-9 lead at the first media timeout. However, Pacific came back to take a 21-19 lead with 6:55 remaining after several missed open shots and unforced turnovers from BYU. The Cougars gave Pacific too many free points by committing non-shooting fouls when the Tigers were in the bonus. Yoeli Childs scored just 1 point in first half as BYU struggled to contain the dribble penetration of the Pacific guards, and the Cougars trailed 36-29 heading into the locker room.

BYU came out more focused in the second half, as Yoeli Childs knocked down an open three pointer at the top of the key to erase the halftime deficit in just four minutes. Neither team led by more than four points for the remainder of the game, as Pacific guards Jahlil Tripp and Miles Reynolds continued to get whatever they wanted inside the paint, making some difficult shots in traffic. BYU was down by two points with possession with 46 seconds remaining, but Yoeli Childs missed the front end of a one-and-one foul shot.

After Pacific knocked down a pair of free throws, Bryant knocked down a three pointer to trim the BYU deficit to a single point with 15 seconds remaining. After two more missed free throws from the Tigers, Jahshire Hardnett came down the floor, drove to the basket on the left side of the floor and missed a floater. Yoeli Childs mis-timed his jump when going for the offensive rebound, Pacific tried to save the ball in bounds, but they threw the ball to Zac Seljaas. Seljaas caught the ball and converted a shot on the right baseline that unfortunately was not out of his hands before the buzzer sounded. The basket did not count, and BYU lost a one point heartbreaker to Pacific.

This was a loss that BYU simply could not afford for their NCAA Tournament at-large hopes, as they will likely need to win all three remaining games against Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s plus the semifinals of the WCC Tournament to have a legitimate case to be selected.