Provo • It was the shot the Cougars wanted in their quest to end their recent futility against Saint Mary’s and avenge last March’s 31-point loss in the West Coast Conference tournament semifinals.

With the score knotted at 60 in a game BYU had mostly controlled, Elijah Bryant drove to the basket with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation and found a wide- open Zac Seljaas in front of the Cougars bench. However, Seljaas 3-point attempt was short and the intense, thrilling contest went to overtime.

From there, Saint Mary’s dominated like it did in Las Vegas nearly 10 months ago, and strolled out of the Marriott Center with a 74-64 win in front of a holiday-break crowd of 16,212, its eighth straight win this season and fourth in a row over BYU.

“We will take that shot every day to win the game,” said coach Dave Rose.

Added guard TJ Haws: “I would take Zac shooting that shot 10 out of 10 times again. I thought it was going down.”

Saint Mary’s (13-2, 2-0) made three of the four shots it took from the field and six of seven free throws in overtime to dominate the five-minute extra session. The Cougars were a frosty 2 of 9 in overtime.

Jock Landale, the Gaels’ phenomenal 6-foot-11 center from Australia, led the way with 31 points on 13-of-15 shooting and also grabbed 13 rebounds. He made a basket to open overtime and a pair of free throws after a touch foul was called on Yoeli Childs with two minutes, two seconds remaining in overtime. Calvin Hermanson and Emmett Naar added 3-pointers in OT after being mostly held in check in regulation.

“It came down to just execution, execution late, and we had plenty of opportunities to find a way to win that game, and Saint Mary’s was just better at it late, with their execution,” Rose said. “So it gives us a pretty good benchmark of where we are, and we will move forward and get ready for next week.”

Where they are is a lot better than they were last March after suffering that 81-50 beatdown, but not quite good enough to topple the WCC’s preseason favorite.

The Cougars led for more than 28 minutes and had leads as large as eight points several times in both halves. Childs led BYU with 29 points and 10 rebounds and Elijah Bryant added 16.

“BYU is better this year,” said SMC coach Randy Bennett. “They’re grittier on defense and more patient on offense. They’re less selfish. They’re playing well, and we feel fortunate to get out of here with a win.”

The Gaels made seven 3-pointers in regulation on 24 attempts, but none bigger than the one backup Evan Fitzner hit with 4:44 remaining. The Cougars had built a 55-49 lead and the crowd was at its loudest, but Fitzner made the triple out of a timeout. After Haws missed an open 3-pointer and Naar shook free for a layup, Childs missed an inside shot and Tanner Krebs nailed an 18-footer. Suddenly, the Gaels had their first lead since 7:43 remained in the first half.

Krebs hit a 3-pointer with 1:50 left to give the Gaels the lead again, but Haws scored to tie it. Before Seljaas’ big miss, Hermanson missed a trey with 20 seconds left in regulation.

“Sometimes you compete and you go after it and you just don’t get the results that you want,” Rose said. “I think that’s how you kinda describe the results of this game, because the guys played hard. We played well enough to win, we just didn’t finish it off.”

Next up for the Cougars is a road trip to the Bay Area for games against San Francisco on Thursday and Pacific on Saturday.


• The Gaels outscore the Cougars 14-4 in the five-minute overtime session to snap BYU’s nine-game winning streak.

• Jock Landale scores 31 points and grabs 13 rebounds in 44 minutes for Saint Mary’s.

• The Cougars get an open shot to win it at the end of regulation, but Zac Seljaas’ 3-point attempt is short.