Anson Winder scored a career-high 25 points, while Kyle Collinsworth added 18 as the Cougars escaped the Marriott Center with a 77-71 overtime win over UMass.
“This was a real team victory for us,” coach Dave Rose said. “From top to bottom, our guys battled through a game that was really difficult for us to get into any kind of rhythm.”
The Minutemen didn’t make it easy on the home crowd, trading the lead 18 times with the Cougars before seeing BYU cling to a one-point lead with 2.4 seconds left in regulation. Minuteman senior forward Maxie Esho’s drive to the basket drew a shooting foul, giving him two shots and an opportunity to take the lead.
Esho drilled his first shot.
The second bounced out, granting the Cougars relief and five more minutes of gameplay.
“You’re just hoping and praying that he misses both,” Winder said. “But we were able to get one, so we’ll take that. It’s a nervous feeling.”
Minuteman guard Trey Davis’ 3-pointer put the Cougars back down to open up the overtime period, but BYU responded behind a driving score from Collinsworth and a pair of Winder free-throws to lead 69-68 with 1:54 left.
After a UMass miss, sophomore guard Frank Bartley IV sent the Marriott Center crowd into a frenzy with a pass that split two defenders en route to freshman Corbin Kaufusi, who threw down an emphatic dunk to give the Cougars a 71-68 score with 55 seconds left.
“I think the clock was at eight and coach was about to call a timeout, and we only had one timeout left, so he said (to) make a play,” Bartley said. “(Kaufusi’s) man came on me, and I saw Corbin open up, and (I) made a pass.”
Winder rebounded the ensuing UMass-missed 3-point attempt and knocked down two more free-throws to give the Cougars a comfortable five-point cushion with 22 seconds to play.
Winder’s 25 points came on 7-of-13 shooting while making 8-of-10 from the free-throw line. Collinsworth finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
Next up the for the Cougars is a Dec. 27 conference game against No. 8 Gonzaga in the Marriott Center. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.