In a game for the ages, the two seed BYU knocked off the three seed USF by a score of 79-77 in overtime to move on to the WCC tournament championship game.
A total of six points were scored in the final six minutes of regulation, including no scores in the final three minutes. All six of those points belonged to USF as the Dons went on an 8-0 run to tie the game and force overtime. A Mark Tollefsen three with 3:21 left in regulation was the game-tieing bucket for San Francisco.
With about 36 seconds left in regulation, BYU had a chance to take the lead and virtually take the final shot. However, BYU could not muster up a quality look as Kyle Collinsworth‘s fadeaway jumper was blocked by Mark Tollefsen and Matt Glover pulled down the offensive rebound while head coach Rex Walters called a timeout to potentially give San Francisco a chance to win the game themselves. San Francisco did not even attempt a shot to end regulation and the two team’s went into overtime.
Although BYU did not score in the last 6:13 in regulation, the Cougars scored the first six points in the overtime period to jump out to a 70-64 lead on the Dons. The two teams went back-and-forth for a while, trading buckets while BYU clinged to a four point lead. It was a Matt Glover 3-pointer with 32 seconds left that truly put the pressure on BYU. USF sent Collinsworth and Tyler Haws to the free throw line in between the 25 second mark and the 16 second mark, but both Cougar players drained each of their two free throws to keep the Cougars lead at three. After each BYU trip to the free throw line, San Francisco sophomore Avry Holmes took the ball coast-to-coast to keep on cutting the BYU lead to one. The Dons finally found a BYU player that would miss at the charity stripe, and his name was Anson Winder. Winder only made one of his two foul shots, giving San Francisco a chance to tie or win the game in the next eight seconds. Holmes took a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer, which was followed by a Tim Derksen airball on the tip-in and BYU survived to advance to a place they have never gone before – the WCC tournament championship game.
Collinsworth came up huge tonight for BYU, scoring 18 points, leading the team in rebounds with 12 and tieing for the team-high in assists – along with Eric Mika and Haws – with two. The sophomore point guard, who is a 57.1 percent free throw shooter, drilled two clutch free throws towards the end of overtime to keep BYU’s lead at three. His ability to consistently get to the rim and collect offensive rebounds and second chance points made the difference today for the Cougars.
Tyler Haws was BYU’s leading point scorer tonight (surprise, surprise) with 24 points. Haws was not particularly efficient tonight, however, only going five of 19 from the field. Winder, Carlino and Mika all finished in double figures as well with 15, 11 and 11 points respectively. Only five BYU players scored tonight; Nate Austin, Josh Sharp, Skyler Halford, Luke Worthington and Frank Bartley IV posted goose eggs in the scoring column versus USF.
The Dons were led by their senior leader Cole Dickerson. The Federal Way, Wash. native scored 20 points and snagged 10 rebounds to record his ninth double-double of the season. Holmes had a tough shooting night (four of 16) but chipped in 10 points and led the Dons in assists and steals with seven and four respectively. Glover’s 14 points and Derksen’s 11 points rounds out the Dons double-digit scorers on the evening.
Keys to the Game Checklist
(Check) Keep Winder Going:
Winder’s stat line tonight: 15 points (five of seven shooting), five boards and one assist and zero turnovers. Yet another solid outing from Winder earns BYU a check mark in this category.
(X) Keep the big men inside:
This is something that USF was not all that great about today. Dickerson and Mark Tollefsen combined to shoot 10 3-pointers today and Tollefsen did not even attempt a two point basket.
Matchup of the Game
Kyle Collinsworth versus Matt Glover (Push)
Collinsworth had the better stats tonight, but Glover played 10 less minutes as Collinsworth and came up just as big in clutch situations.
Player of the Game
See the fifth paragraph in as to why.
As I mentioned before, BYU ventures on into uncharted waters with the win. And by uncharted waters I mean the WCC tournament championship game. The Cougars will play Gonzaga in the final after the Zags defeated Saint Mary’s today by a score of 70-54 (Read about it by clinking the link).
San Francisco’s NCAA tournament chances are now shot with the victory, but the Dons will be playing in a postseason tournament of some kind. The Dons are a longshot to make the NIT based on this NIT bracketology, so the CBI might be the most realistic option for USF at this juncture.