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BYU ends NCAA skid with 2OT win
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There are sighs of relief, and then there was the one blowing out of the Ford Center on Thursday when the BYU Cougars finally broke through with a win in the NCAA Tournament after 17 long, futile years.

"This was a long time coming," BYU coach Dave Rose said, after drawing a deep breath for about the fourth time.

The Cougars had to work extra hard for it, too, winning 99-92 in double overtime after Florida had the ball last and chances to win it at the end of regulation and the first overtime.

In the second overtime, Michael Loyd hit a three-pointer a half-minute into the five-minute session and BYU never trailed after, jumping to an 84-81 lead. The Cougars never led in the first overtime, or for last the 2 minutes and 41 seconds of regulation.

"We had a second life, or a third life, or whatever it was," said Jimmer Fredette after shooting 13-for-26 from the field and 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. "We pulled it out. I can't believe it."

The alternative -- a ninth straight loss in the tournament after leading by 13 points with less than nine minutes remaining -- would have been unbearable, the Cougars (30-5) acknowledged.

"The monkey is off our backs," said forward Noah Hartsock. "Now we can just have fun."

Averaging 4.6 points a game, Loyd emerged as BYU's hero by scoring a career-high 26 points. He had 10 straight points in the first half to bring the Cougars back from a 28-21 deficit.

The Cougars led 59-46 with less than nine minutes left when Jackson Emery hit a three-pointer, but couldn't hold it, as Florida freshman Kenny Boynton single-handedly brought the Gators back. Boynton finished with 26 points before fouling out in the second overtime.

"He was terrific," Rose said.

Boynton's three-pointer with 2:41 left gave Florida its first lead since Loyd's flurry in the first half, and the Cougars were in big trouble when Chandler Parsons (20 points, 10 rebounds) followed with a three a minute later to give the Gators a 74-70 lead.

But BYU's Emery hit arguably the biggest shot of the game, a three-pointer, seconds later to give the Cougars hope in the final minute.

"Finally got to see one go in," he said. "Felt good."

After Florida's Vernon Macklin missed a free throw, Fredette tied it 75-75 with 26 seconds left. The Cougars escaped when Parsons' fadeaway rolled out with a second or two on the clock.

Loyd saved BYU in the first overtime by scoring six straight points, sandwiched around a rebound putback by Parsons, after the Cougars fell behind by four early in the extra session. Florida had the ball after a timeout with 19.4 seconds left, but didn't get off a good shot, and the marathon game went five minutes longer.

Fredette made two of his three three-pointers, back-to-back, in the second overtime.

"It's a great feeling," said Fredette, who registerd the 29th 20-point game of his career. "Obviously, we hadn't won a game since '93, and we were very aware of that. ... It was our time."

Time to let out a big sigh of relief.

drew@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">drew@sltrib.com

Storylines

In Short » BYU gives up a 13-point lead and trails late at the end of regulation and the first overtime, but wins its first NCAA Tournament game since 1993.

Key Moment » Jackson Emery's three-pointer with 1:44 remaining in regulation trims Florida's lead to one.

Key Stat » Jimmer Fredette and Michael Loyd combine for 63 points for BYU.

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