MORAGA, Calif. (ABC4 Sports) – With star center Yoeli Childs out with a dislocated finger, the shorthanded BYU basketball team still almost pulled off an incredible comeback Thursday night, before losing to St. Mary’s in overtime, 87-84.
The loss ends BYU’s 6-game winning streak.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” BYU head coach Mark Pope said. “They’re fighting, they’re working and they’re getting better. They’re trying to digest everything that we ask them to do. They came out here and battled courageously and didn’t go away.”
TJ Haws scored a season-high 29 points, while Jake Toolson added 24 for BYU, which erased a late 9-point deficit to send the game into overtime.
But Jordan Ford poured in 24 points for the Gaels, who beat BYU at home for the sixth straight time.
St. Mary’s had a 71-62 lead with 4:23 left in the game, before Haws led a BYU comeback, scoring 10 points including a dunk with seven seconds left to tie game at 77.
In overtime, Toolson gave BYU a 79-77 lead with a jumper, but St. Mary’s made six free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
The Cougars had a chance to send the game to a second overtime, but Haws missed a contested off-balance three-pointer with one second left.
Childs injured is finger in practice on Tuesday, and it is not known how long he will be out. Of the Cougars’ five losses this season, two have been to top 10 teams, three were on the road in overtime and four were without Childs, who also missed the first nine games of the season because of an NCAA suspension.
Starting in place of Childs, Kolby Lee made all four of his field goal attempts, finishing with 9 points and 6 rebounds. Dalton Nixon added 8 points, while Zac Seljaas scored 7.
The Cougars made just 6 of 18 three-pointers, but did force 16 St. Mary’s turnovers.
Malik Fitts had 17 points, while Dan Fotu added 16 for St. Mary’s, which was coming off a quadruple overtime loss to Pacific on Saturday.
The Cougars (12-5, 1-1 WCC) next host Portland Saturday night at the Marriott Center at 7:30 p.m.