NASSAU, Bahamas (ABC4 Sports) – After falling behind 32-9, the BYU basketball team stormed back in the second half against Dayton, and knocked off the Flyers in overtime, 79-75 in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.
The Cougars scored 55 points in the second half to overcome the largest deficit in the tournament’s history.
“Tonight was a great night,” freshman Dallin Hall said. “We showed a lot of fight and came back. “A lot of guys stepped up and made shots. Coach helped us by putting the right players in and put is in the right position so we could have a comeback victory.”
BYU shot 57.6 percent from the floor in the second half and overtime as they erased a 23-point deficit to put an end to its two-game losing streak. For the game, they shot 45.2 percent on the day to become the only the second team to shoot over 40 percent from the field against the Flyers and the only team this season to shoot over 40 percent from three, going 13-of 27.
Gideon George had a game-high 21 points to lead all scorers on 6-of-11 from the field. The fifth-year senior went 3-of-5 from behind the arc and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe, including making three free throws in the last 21 seconds to ice the game for BYU.
“I probably didn’t do a great job preparing us for this game,” said head coach Mark Pope about his team’s slow start. “So much of it is our headspace and we really started out on our heels. We were trying to play cautious. We have some holes in our game that we are trying to fix so that made them a little cautious. Our players are so hungry to improve and do it together. It’s pretty special.”
Jaxson Robinson continued his strong play as 11 of his 14 points came after halftime inlcuding a pair of 3-pointers in overtime.
Hall finished with a career-high 12 points off the bench including making his first collegiate 3-pointers.
The Cougars were held scoreless until the 13:56 mark in the first half before Dallin Hall’s jump hook went down for the first Cougar points of the game.
Going into the under-12 timeout, the Flyers had two offensive rebounds that turned into five second-chance points to take a nine-point lead.
Out of the timeout, Richie Saunders scored his first points with a kick-out three to cut the lead to six before Dayton scored 17-straight points to take a 32-9 lead with 6:01 left in the first half.
Out of the under-4 timeout, Jaxson Robinson grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a three to cut the Flyer lead to 17 before Dayton retook a 20-point lead.
A steal with 36 seconds left in the half led to two free throws from Rudi Williams cut the lead to 13 before Dayton finished the half with a corner three to lead by 16 at the break.
The Cougars drew within 11 in the first three minutes of the second half as Hall hit his second three of the afternoon, before Hall found Traore on a roll to the bucket with 17:22 to play.
Out of the under-16 timeout, Williams saved a ball from going out of bounds which found the hands of Robinson whose two-hand hammer drew BYU within nine with 15:47 to play.
With 12:05 left, Robinson found Saunders in the left-corner for a catch-and-shoot triple that brought the Cougars within eight, the closest they had been since the 10:49 mark of the first half.
After forcing a turnover, Saunders found George for a kick-out three to cut the Flyer lead to five with 9:55 left to play. Just 40 seconds later, Williams skip pass again found George on the right-wing for three to trim the lead to four.
Williams split a double team driving into the lane and found Hall for a kick-out three to make it a one-possession game with 6:30 left in the second half.
With 3:11 on the clock, Hall drove baseline and threw a wrap-around pass to Robinson in the left corner for a triple to draw within two, Dayton’s smallest lead since its opening possession.
George swiped a Flyers pass to earn the Cougars an extra possession in which BYU whipped the ball around the horn, back to George in the right corner for three to take a one-point lead with 2:19 to play.
Dayton retook a one-point lead before George was fouled with 1:03 to play. He missed the first but made the second to draw even with 63 ticks left.
After a BYU stop with four seconds remaining, Williams threw up a shot that missed the mark, sending the game to a five-minute overtime period.
The Flyers scored on the opening possession before a turn-around jumper from Williams tied it. Robinson was found by Williams on the next trip down the floor for a corner three to take a three-point lead with 2:36 to play in overtime.
After another BYU stop, George got a scoop-an-score to go up five before the Flyers scored cutting the Cougar lead to three. On the next trip, Hall drove middle and found Robinson for a deep triple with 1:43 left to go up six.
Despite missing six free throws on the day and not attempting a free throw in the second half, George and Williams went a combined 5-of-6 from the stripe in the last 21 seconds to seal a four-point win for the Cougars, 79-75.
BYU returns to the state of Utah but will play its next two games at Vivint Arena beginning with a showdown with Westminster on Tuesday, November 29, at 7 p.m.