BYU Loses Big Lead and Falls to Ole Miss, 94-90


The BYU Cougars lost in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday night, falling to the Ole Miss Rebels by a score of 94-90.  Tyler Haws scored 33 points on 13/23 shooting, and Chase Fischer had a hot first half en route to 23 points on 6/12 from beyond the arc.  Kyle Collinsworth struggled to put the ball in the basket and missed a couple of key free throws down the stretch, but still managed to finish with 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists.  Skyler Halford added 11 points off the bench.

Mar 17, 2015; Dayton, OH, USA; Mississippi Rebels guard Stefan Moody (42) shoots while guarded by Brigham Young Cougars guard Skyler Halford (23) during the second half in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at UD Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss was led by Stefan Moody with 26 points and 5 assists, and Jarvis summers added 10 assists despite going 5/21 from the field.  MJ Rhett had a number of acrobatic dunks to key the Rebels’ second half comeback and finished with 20 points.  Three other players scored in double figures for Ole Miss.  Scoring 10 points apiece were Sebastian Saiz, Martavious Newby, and Ladarius White.

BYU played one of it’s best halves of the year in the first half, and they led by 17 points at halftime.  However, their heavy reliance on the outside shot really came through as they lived by the 3-ball in the first half and died by it in the second half.  A combination of careless turnovers, giving up too much dribble penetration, as well as some hot Rebels shooting led to a 62 point output in the second half for Ole Miss.  BYU did have chances in the final minute to put some pressure on Ole Miss, but Haws and Fischer both missed key three point shots leading to the Cougar loss.

This was a very disappointing result for BYU given the big lead at halftime, almost the exact opposite of their major comeback against Iona in the 2012 First Four game.  This game reminded me a lot of BYU’s 99-87 home loss to San Francisco in 2013, where BYU held a big lead early but played little defense in conjunction with USF hitting everything, to let the lead slip away very quickly.

More from 2015 NCAA Tournament

I want to take a moment to thank BYU’s seniors for their outstanding careers, though I plan to cover their careers in more depth in articles coming later this month.  They have all had to adjust to different roles, and have all made significant progress.  Anson Winder was having a career year that was unfortunately derailed by injuries.  Skyler Halford overcame an early season shooting slump to become arguably BYU’s 3rd best scorer (depending on the night Fischer was having, but Sky was more consistent).  Josh Sharp came out of absolutely nowhere to regain his starting spot from 2 years ago and made a lot of hustle plays that fueled BYU’s strong play down the stretch.  And Tyler Haws, what can I say to sum up what he’s meant for the Cougars?  The most consistent Cougar ever, who had the excellent mid range game that has essentially disappeared from the game of basketball these days.  He might not have won as much as Jimmer, but Ty will go down as one of the greatest Cougars ever.

BYU’s next game is …. oh wait… not until November 13th or 14th.  An offseason where Kyle Collinsworth works on his jump shot and Nate Austin gets healthy should bode well for the post-Haws era that has just begun.