BYU (7-4) fell 85-82 to Harvard (4-6) in a hard-fought overtime loss in the first round of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Classic Tuesday afternoon.
Poor 3-point shooting and turnovers plagued the Cougars in a game that featured 11 ties and 12 lead changes. The Crimson made 50 percent of their 3-pointers while the Cougars shot just 23 percent. Two crucial turnovers on the last two possessions of overtime following a turnover at the end of regulation play left the team with a bad taste in their mouths.
“It was just a tough game in the sense we couldn’t just quite close it out,” senior guard Kyle Collinsworth said in a postgame interview. “We made a great run to work on that deficit we were in and just couldn’t make a play down the stretch to win it.”
Harvard led 10-2 just five and a half minutes into the game and built it up to a 19-3 lead. The Cougars made just one shot in the first eight minutes, but whittled the lead down to five points with 4:35 left in the first half.
BYU led 64-60 near the end of the second half, but Harvard fought back to send the game into overtime with a tie of 66-66.
The Cougars led 75-71 in overtime but couldn’t hold onto the lead as the Crimson hit clutch free throws and BYU made defensive mistakes in the loss.
“We let both these leads slip away both times,” head basketball coach Dave Rose said in a postgame interview. “Those are times when you need big shots, you need big plays. And guys need to step up and make those plays.”
Both forward Kyle Davis and Collinsworth led the Cougars with 23 points each. Davis had 16 rebounds as well while Collinsworth had six rebounds and eight assists. Collinsworth also contributed seven turnovers, including a pass he sent on the second-to-last possession in overtime.
“That was a good pass, I just didn’t squeeze it in and unfortunately it went out of bounds,” Collinsworth said.
Senior guard Chase Fischer’s play was also notable as he scored only four points and didn’t connect on a 3-pointer. When Fischer is successful shooting from beyond the arc, the Cougars are a much more successful team.
Former Brighton High School guard Corbin Miller finished the night with 17 points and three 3-pointers in Harvard’s win.
BYU will next play New Mexico on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 12:30 p.m. (MST). New Mexico also fell in the first round, losing 83-78 to Auburn. The Cougars will play their final game of the tournament on Christmas Day, although the opponent and time are yet to be announced. The games will be broadcast on the Cougar IMG Network, BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143, KSL 1160 AM / 102.7 FM and byucougars.com.