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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Cougars led by as many as 11 points before concluding the game ahead by nine, 65-56.
Stats: BYU 65, Princeton 56
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