BYU basketball loses to Ole Miss in First Four game

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DAYTON, Ohio — Coach Dave Rose told his players the teams that win in this tournament are the teams that play the most like themselves, but that wasn’t the case tonight.

Elliott Miller
Chase Fishcer walks off of the court after BYU loses to Ole Miss in the NCAA Tournament. (Elliott Miller)

It was a tale of two halves, as BYU was able to keep the pace fast and rebound well in the first half but hit a road block in the second, letting Ole Miss overcome a 17-point deficit to escape with a 94-90 victory.

“I think we did enough offensively to win the game,” Tyler Haws said. “Kind of found our rhythm there in the first half and got it going, and guys were sharing the ball so well. And it kind of got away from us in the second half. And you gotta give it to Ole Miss. They played really well, and we didn’t really have an answer for them defensively, and they just made plays in the second half.”

The Cougars out-rebounded Ole Miss eleven to seven on defense and shot a lights–out 66 percent from beyond the arc. This forced the Rebels to switch to a zone, and BYU wasn’t able to recover even though Skyler Halford, Chase Fischer, Anson Winder and Haws all took turns connecting from behind the arc.

“BYU was in control of the tempo as I told you coming out of the half,” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. “We wanted to impose our will to start the second half. We chopped it in half pretty quickly, our guys started believing, the ball started going in, and good things happened.”

Elliott Miller
Tyler Haws shoots for three during BYU’s game against Ole Miss. (Elliott Miller)

BYU’s offensive onslaught from beyond the arc began stalling out in the second half, with the Cougars only making five 3–pointers.

Ole Miss woke up from its first-half slumber and applied tight defensive pressure. With 11:26 left to play, the Cougars went on a cold streak, making only two of 10 baskets.

BYU played with less of a hair-on-fire mentality in the second half as turnovers doubled. The Cougars allowed 62 second–half points.

“We played man in the first half mostly, and we switched back and forth to zone,” Rose said. “And Moody got loose a couple times, hit threes in the corner. We tried to make adjustments to that. But then I think foul trouble is a real issue. You get guys with that third and fourth foul, and we’re just not as aggressive.”

BYU lost the lead for the first time in the game with eight minutes left but fought hard to tie it at 80 with 3:24 left in the game. The Cougars and Rebels dueled on both ends, but Stefan Moody put the Rebels up by three with 1:52 to play.

Fischer was adamant on not letting the Rebels pull too far ahead and drained a three to keep the Cougars within two with 1:20 to play. But more missed offensive opportunities and turnovers allowed the Rebels to keep the lead for good.

Ole Miss advances to the field of 64 to play six–seeded Xavier on Thursday. The Cougars’ season is officially over, finishing the year with a 25–10 record.

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