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Bryant’s late-game heroics propel BYU Basketball past San Francisco in overtime

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 27 Pacific at BYU Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Elijah Bryant made the game-tying three pointer at the end of regulation as the BYU Cougars (20-7, 9-5) pulled off an improbable late comeback,75-73 overtime win against the San Francisco Dons (14-13, 6-8) on Saturday afternoon at the Marriott Center. BYU’s Big Three of T.J. Haws, Elijah Bryant, and Yoeli Childs, combined for 60 of the 75 points, with each of them shooting exactly 50% from the field. Haws led all scorers with 26 points and 7 assists, he also made the game-winning free throws at the end of overtime. Childs added 20 points and 9 rebounds. In addition to his game tying three, Bryant totaled 14 points and 11 rebounds, and came up with the crucial steal at the end of regulation to give BYU a fighting chance.

San Francisco’s Frankie Ferrari scored the first six points of the game, as a 6-0 USF start forced an early timeout from BYU. The Cougars responded with an 10-0 run behind a runner from McKay Cannon, back-to-back threes from Dalton Nixon and Haws, and a driving layup by Childs to turn an 8-2 deficit into a 12-8 lead. The Cougars struggled to take care of the ball when driving into the lane and making entry passes to the post, as they were unable to keep their composure and stay under control. Eleven first half turnovers from BYU allowed the Dons to take a 27-26 lead into the locker room even though the Cougars shot 46% from field and 44% from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.

Neither team created any separation in the second half, as the game was tied at 48 with 7 minutes remaining. With the game tied at 52, Haws and Bryant committed back to back turnovers that both led to USF baskets, the second being a 3 point play on a layup in transition. After Haws and Bryant both split a pair at the free throw line, USF’s Souley Boum converted a circus shot and for an and-one to extend the lead back to five. He missed the foul shot, but corralled his rebound and got fouled, and made two more free throws to extend the Dons’ lead to 7 points with about three minutes left.

Neither team scored for the next two minutes until Haws hit a three pointer off an offensive rebound from Zac Seljaas to cut the Dons’ lead to 4 points with 43 seconds remaining. With the lead still at 4 for USF, Elijah Bryant stole the ball from the Dons and Jahshire Hardnett converted on a 3 point play to cut the deficit to a single point with 13.4 seconds remaining. USF then threw a home run pass to Boum who converted a wide open layup just two seconds later. Down 65-62, T.J. Haws brought the ball up court and passed to Elijah Bryant on the right wing, who swished a three pointer with 5 seconds left to send the game to overtime, as the Cougars successfully came back from a 7-point deficit with 43 seconds remaining.

Ferrari and Boum both scored baskets for USF, as the Dons opened overtime with a 4 point lead. Bryant and Haws both knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game with 2:38 remaining in the overtime period. Ferrari responded with a deep three pointer from the top of the key to give the Dons a 3 point lead, which was followed by a layup from Haws to cut the lead back down to a point. With 48.9 seconds remaining, Elijah Bryant fouled out while attempting to defend USF’s Chase Foster on the drive, but Foster only made one of two free throws. On the next possession, Haws was able to tie the game on a driving layup with 40 seconds left.

After a USF turnover on the following possession, T.J. Haws was fouled as BYU was holding for the last shot with 4.3 seconds left. Haws knocked down both free throws to give the Cougars a 75-73 lead. Frankie Ferarri’s three point attempt for the win came up woefully short, and BYU survived to complete the improbable comeback and defeat San Francisco. The key for the Cougars in overtime was that they did not commit a single turnover after committing 19 in regulation. BYU will look to stay focused next week with two intriguing road matchups against Pepperdine and San Diego.