Late surge helps BYU hand Princeton rare home loss

BYU guard Elijah Bryant (3) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Princeton, N.J. BYU defeated Princeton 65-56. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

PRINCETON, N.J. – A 13-4 run midway through the second half gave BYU a lead it would never relinquish as the Cougars beat Princeton 65-56 Wednesday night at Jadwin Gymnasium.

The game was tied at 39-39 with 13:17 left when Zac Seljaas and Elijah Bryant led BYU on the game-changing run and helped the Cougars hand the Tigers just their second home loss in three years.

Coming into the 2017-18 season, Princeton was 23-1 at home the previous two seasons, including 13-0 in 2015-16 and 10-1 last season.

“We did a really good job on the defensive end,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I’m happy for the guys. I think we have a real commitment to that and these guys understand the importance of executing the game plan and staying with it to the end.”

Princeton forward Alec Brennan, left, is called for a blocking foul as Brigham Young guard Elijah Bryant goes up with a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Princeton, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Bryant led all scorers with 22 points, including 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. Seljaas and TJ Haws added 11 and 10 points, respectively, as both extended streaks of consecutive games with a 3-pointer. Yoeli Childs pulled down 11 boards in his second-straight game with double-figure rebounds and the 12th of his career.

BYU and Princeton opened the first half battling as the Tigers took an early 11-9 advantage with 13:37 on the clock.

The Cougars went on a 5-0 run off to take its largest lead of the half, 17-14, of a 3-pointer from Seljaas and a layup from Bryant. Princeton responded with a 3-pointer of its own to even the score 17-17. Neither team led by more than three points before the other answered.

A Seljaas layup and Jahshire Hardnett’s perfect trip to the charity stripe put BYU up 29-26 before the Tigers hit three-consecutive free throws to tie the game 29-29 at halftime.

BYU went on an 8-0 run early in the second half for a five-point lead, 39-34, sparked by a Haws 3-pointer on an assist from Seljaas. Bryant pulled down a defensive rebound and took it down the court for a layup while Seljaas added a basket from beyond the arc in the run.

The Tigers connected on a free throw and a pair of layups to tie the game again, 39-39, with 13:17 in the half.

BYU’s Yoeli Childs shoots over Princeton defenders during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Princeton, N.J. BYU defeated Princeton 65-56. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Another 3-pointer from Seljaas and Bryant’s perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe on two technical fouls gave BYU a game-high nine-point advantage, 52-43, and shifted momentum the Cougars’ way.

Princeton came back within three, 54-51, with four minutes left to play. Haws made five three throws as BYU took a five-point 59-54 lead. Childs added a jumper, his only field goal of the night, to build the lead to seven. Bryant scored on a layup and Childs went 2 for 2 at the free-throw line for the Cougars’ largest lead of the night at 11 points, 65-54.

The Tigers put a layup in with 10 seconds to go for a final score of 65-56.

BYU will play four games in the Barclays Center Classic from Saturday, Nov. 18 to Saturday, Nov. 25. The Cougars first compete against UT Arlington on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. MST at the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on BYUtv and radio broadcasts available on the BYU Sports Network, BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143) and KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.

PLAYER NOTES

Eljiah Bryant 
Bryant scored a game-high 22 points in his second-straight 20-point game and third as a Cougar. He added seven rebounds and made 9 of 10 from the free-throw line.

Yoeli Childs
Childs pulled down 11 boards in his second-straight game with double-figure rebounds and 12th of his career. He had three first-half blocks and has nine career games with three-plus blocks.

Zac Seljaas
Seljaas extended his streak of 12-straight games with a 3-point field goal, including the last 10 of his freshman year. Seljaas had 11 points on the night, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.

TJ Haws
Haws scored 10 points in his sixth-straight game in double figures, dating back to last season. He has also hit a 3-pointer in 18-straight games.

TEAM NOTES

Free Throw Shooting
BYU made eight-straight free throws in the first half, missed the first two of the second half and hit 17-straight to finish the game.

Largest Lead
The Cougars led by as many as 11 points before concluding the game ahead by nine, 65-56.

Stats: BYU 65, Princeton 56

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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