BYU pulls ahead late to top Princeton, 65-56
PRINCETON, N.J. – BYU basketball pulled ahead late in the second half to top 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.”
Eljiah Bryant led all scorers with 22 points, including 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. Zac 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 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.
BYU head coach Dave Rose
This was not our best offensive night tonight. We did get to the free-throw line and we converted when we got there. That was one thing we did really well. Other than that, it seemed pretty tough on the offensive end. They’re a really good defensive team.
We did a really good job on the defensive end. 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 averaged 26 3s last year, only got nine off tonight and only made seven of those. You get beat by Princeton when you let them shoot a lot of threes. We did a pretty good job of not giving them a lot of 3-point shots and challenging most of them.
That play was awesome because the ball touched about five different guys. It went from the side, up to top, back to the side and then skipped to the other side where Zac nailed the thing.
It was a really intense game, especially down the stretch. It feels really good to get that win here.
It was awesome to see all the BYU fans show up and it felt like a home game at times.
Down the stretch, I think it showed for us we needed to win the game on the defensive end. That made it feel so intense for us. Every possession defensively was so critical and we were able to execute offensively down the stretch to win.
Gaining energy on the defensive end
In the first half, Princeton really dominated the boards. We had some fire to come out the second half and not let that happen again. We locked in, guarded the ball and played more team defense.
After opening the season with a 91-61 win over Mississippi Valley State in the Marriott Center, BYU basketball will hit the road to take on Princeton Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST in Jadwin Gymnasium. Wednesday's game will be televised live on NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC Sports California and broadcast live on the BYU Sports Network on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143 and 102.7 FM/1160 AM. A live video feed ($) will be available online on the Ivy League Sports Network.
Junior guard Elijah Bryant was nearly perfect in the season opener, hitting 10 of 11 from the field, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range. Bryant finished with a game-high 27 points and added six rebounds in the win against Mississippi Valley State.
Sophomore forward Yoeli Childs opened the season with a double-double and a pair of career highs against Mississippi Valley State. Childs posted 13 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth career double-double and added career bests of six assists and five blocks.
BYU leads the all-time series against Princeton 5-0, including an 82-73 win over the Tigers in Provo in the 2016-17 season opener. The last time the Cougars played at Princeton was in 1981, a 39-38 BYU win.
BYU Cougars (1-0, 0-0 WCC)
- Head Coach: Dave Rose
- Alma Mater: Houston, 1983
- Division I Career Record: 306-111 (13th)
- Record at BYU: Same
Princeton Tigers (0-1, 0-0 Ivy League)
- Head Coach: Mitch Henderson
- Alma Mater: Princeton, 1998
- Career Record: 119-60 (6th)
- Record at Princeton: Same
- TV: NBC Spors Philadelphia, NBC Sports California
- Derek Jones (play-by-play), Noah Savage (analyst)
- Ivy League Network
- Radio: BYU Sports Network, BYU Radio Sirius XM 143, 102.7 FM/1160 AM
- Radio Talent: Greg Wrubell (play-by-play), Terry Nashif (analyst)
- Live Stats: BYUcougars.com
Series Record: BYU leads 5-0
Last Meeting: BYU won 82-73, 11/14/16
Season and home openers under Rose
Freshman 3-point field goals
BYU’s 2016-17 roster includes the players who hold the top three spots for 3-point field goals by a freshman. Nick Emery and Zac Seljaas both smashed the previous record of 44 in 2015-16. Emery hit 97 3-pointers for the current freshman record and fourth most in a season in BYU history, while Seljaas hit 68. Last season, Haws hit a team-high 76 3-pointers for second-most by a Cougar freshman.
BYU’s 2017-18 roster includes three players who etched their names in the BYU record book during the freshman seasons. Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws were freshmen in 2016-17 while Zac Seljaas was a rookie in 2015-16. All three are back this season, looking to build on their record-setting freshman campaigns. Childs finished his freshman year first all-time among BYU freshmen in rebounds and second in rebounds per game, blocks, blocks per game and field goal percentage.
Haws concluded his first year second all-time among BYU freshmen in 3-point field goals, fourth in points scored, fifth in assists, tied for first in games started and third in double figure scoring games. Seljaas finished the 2015-16 season first all-time among BYU freshmen in 3-point field goal percentage, second in 3-point field goals, second in 3-point field goals per game, second in games with 3-plus 3-point field goals and tied for second most games with 5-plus 3-pointers.
TJ Haws earned first-team All-WCC honors as a freshman in 2016-17, becoming the third Haws in BYU history to earn all-league honors. His father Marty Haws earned first-team All-WAC honors as a senior in 1989-90 and his brother Tyler was a four-time all-league honoree. As a freshman in 2009-10, Tyler was named to the All-Mountain West Conference Third Team. Following a two-year mission for the LDS Church, Tyler earned first-team honors as a sophomore, junior and senior. In addition to joining his father and brother as an all-conference performer, TJ became the second Cougar in program history – the other being Danny Ainge – to earn first-team all-league honors as a freshman.
BYU head coach Dave Rose has led the Cougars to one of the most successful eras in program history since taking over in 2005. His career record of 305-111 ranks him second in BYU history in total victories and first in winning percentage (.733). Rose has been named conference coach of the year three times, led the Cougars to four conference titles, eight NCAA tournament appearances, four NIT appearances, eight 25-win seasons and 12 20-win seasons.
BYU and the Postseason
Under Dave Rose, BYU has reached the postseason in 12-straight seasons, a school record. The previous record was six-straight seasons (1989-90 to 1994-95). During that time the Cougars have earned eight bids to the NCAA tournament and four to the NIT. The Cougars’ eight NCAA tournament bids in the last 12 years are more than 200-plus NCAA Division I schools have since beginning their programs.