‘Hall’ of fame: Dallin’s heroics push BYU men’s hoops past Missouri State 66-64

Freshmen don’t usually come off the bench to play a key role down the stretch of a tight basketball game, let alone hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds of the contest.

Dallin Hall must not have gotten the memo.

In just his third collegiate contest, Hall took an inbound pass the length of the floor, carefully drove inside and banked a jumper off the glass to put the Cougars ahead by two with just 1.5 seconds to play, all but icing a hard fought 66-64 win over previously undefeated Missouri State Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.

“It’s a huge play by a young player and I’m super proud of him,” head coach Mark Pope said. “Dallin is really hungry to improve, he wants to get better and become a great player.”

Hall found himself running the offense at point guard for most of the second half, and while his clutch jumper was his lone made field goal of the night, the Fremont alum scored six points in the final six minutes, attacked the glass for four rebounds and earned a solid 97.4 rating on defense.

“I thought Dallin was very comfortable making decisions down the stretch.. he was incredible on the glass,” Pope said.

It was a back and forth affair for the Cougars and Bears, with BYU leading by as many as 10 in the second half before its streaky offense came screeching to a halt to allow Missouri State back within reach, tying the score with seven seconds remaining prior to Hall’s victory royale.

BYU’s offense had been defined by inconsistent shooting and excessive turnovers in its first week of the campaign, with each of Wednesday’s halves adding further to the complicated dynamic. The Cougars coughed up 10 turnovers in the first half against Missouri State but shot 50% from deep, only to shoot 23% from behind the arc after halftime but commit just three turnovers.

Shooting for BYU is still an issue begging for attention — Cougars not named Noah Waterman shot just 4-19 (21%) from three — but a squad averaging 21.5 turnovers per game turning the ball over just three times in the second half merits plenty of praise.

“We’re gonna steamroll our way through this turnover issue,” Pope said of the second half improvement in ball security.

Waterman’s 15 points on five made threes led the Cougar scoring charge, with Spencer Johnson adding 10 points of his own. Despite a shaky 2-10 shooting line, Gideon George ended the night with a team-high plus/minus of 14 with six points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Atiki Ally Atiki enjoyed possibly the finest performance of his young BYU career, grabbing 11 rebounds, swatting a pair of blocks and rating a ridiculous 73.8 mark on defense.

The Cougars move to 2-1 with the win and set to face Nicholls Saturday night in Provo.

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