28 points from Elijah Bryant was not enough, as the BYU Cougars fell to the Stanford Cardinal in the opening round of the NIT on Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion by a score of 86-83. That final score was closer than the game indicated, as BYU trailed by double digits for most of the fourth quarter. Three other Cougars finished in double figures: Yoeli Childs (11 points), TJ Haws (10 points), and Jahshire Hardnett (12 points). The extended FIBA three point line significantly hurt the Cougars, as they shot 6/27 from beyond the arc as a team.
The most noticable experimental rule being used for the 2018 NIT was four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves, and BYU led 18-16 in the first quarter behind 12 points from Elijah Bryant. With two minutes remaining in the second quarter, sparingly-used freshman Rylan Bergersen swished a three pointer to give BYU their largest lead of 7 points at 37-30. He then hit two free throws to give the Cougars their largest lead of 9 points. Stanford ended the half on a 5-0 run to cut the Cougars’ lead to 39-35 heading into halftime.
Stanford opened up the second half on a 7-0 run (12-0 dating back to the first half) to take a 42-39 lead within the first couple of minutes in the third quarter. BYU had no answer for Reid Travis in the paint, especially after Yoeli Childs picked up his 4th personal foul. An improbable three pointer off the glass by Stanford’s Oscar da Silva gave the Cardinal a 61-52 lead through three quarters.
A put-back layup by Childs and a layup from Bryant in transition cut the Stanford lead down to 5 points early in the fourth quarter. After a Dave Rose technical foul, BYU went on a 10-0 run to cut the Stanford lead down to 4 points with 2:55 remaining. However, Childs picked up his 5th foul after a TJ Haws turnover, and Stanford made one of two free throws. A three pointer from Daejon Davis gave Stanford an 8 point lead, but Elijah Bryant did make a few shots in the final minute to get BYU within 3 points with 8.7 seconds remaining.
Stanford did not let Bryant attempt a three pointer to tie the game, fouling him on the floor. Unfortunately for BYU, he missed the first free throw, then missed his second on purpose. Haws grabbed the offensive rebound, but missed a long two pointer (that would have been a three pointer under the typical college arc), and Stanford walked away with a less than comfortable 86-83 victory to end BYU’s season.