Bedlam in the Bahamas: BYU stuns Dayton in overtime for 79-75 comeback win
It just ain’t over ’til it’s over, especially if you’re BYU men’s basketball.
The Cougars stormed back from a 23-point deficit to force overtime and outlast Dayton in a thrilling 79-75 win Friday, closing out their Battle 4 Atlantis tournament slate in the Bahamas with a potentially season-altering victory.
“Tonight shows that we can always come back and win,” point guard Dallin Hall said.
Dayton held a 32-9 lead after 14 minutes, with BYU’s preexisting shooting and turnover issues appearing yet again and making a winless Bahamas trip seem all but inevitable. To make matters worse, the Cougars were without their top two-way contributor in Spencer Johnson, who was sidelined from the tournament finale with an injury.
Oh, ye of little faith.
BYU — who ended the first half trailing by 16, shooting just 31% from the field and already having committed eight turnovers — became a whole new team after halftime. Mark Pope’s motley crew drained seven three-pointers, out-rebounded the Flyers 17-9 and coughed up just three giveaways to terrify a frustrated Dayton squad and force overtime, where a pair of Jaxson Robinson threes gave BYU the edge to seal the four-point victory.
“It was a rough first half and I knew everyone felt down,” Robinson said. “We all knew that we couldn’t go out like that. We knew that we had to fight and that’s exactly what we did.”
Gideon George’s 21 points led the Cougars, with 19 of them coming in the second half and overtime. Dallin Hall posted 12 points and five assists, Robinson added 14 points, Fouss Traore grabbed 10 rebounds and Richie Saunders scored eight points with three assists and a pair of blocks off the bench.
“Tonight, these guys managed to put two things together with competitive spirit and execution,” Pope said. “Our players are so hungry to improve and do it together. It’s pretty special.”
BYU avoids the Bahamas sweep and moves to 4-3 on the season, as the Cougars head back home to the states to face Westminster at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“We still have a long way to go, but we can travel great distances in a short time,” Pope said.