Seniors rise up in overtime for Saint Mary's to escape BYU's upset bid

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars forward Yoeli Childs (23) steals the ball from St. Mary's Gaels guard Emmett Naar (3) as BYU hosts the St. Mary's Gaels, NCAA basketball in Provo, Saturday December 30, 2017.

Provo • Saint Mary’s has three seniors on its roster. BYU has none.

Never was that more evident than the five-minute overtime period contested between the expected West Coast Conference leaders, as the more-experienced Gaels outplayed the young Cougars to take a 74-64 win at the Marriott Center.

Seniors Jock Landale, Calvin Hermanson and Emmett Naar all made big shots and/or free throws in overtime. Landale finished with 31 points, while Naar had 12 and Hermanson eight.

“Our seniors were big,” said SMC coach Randy Bennett. “A couple of them were well-defended by BYU the whole game, but hit big shots when they needed to. That’s the difference in having senior leadership.”

That Landale was even in the game at the point infuriated BYU fans, who watched in disbelief as the 6-11 center bulled his way inside time and again for 44 minutes.

“Defensively we weren’t as locked in [in overtime] as we were earlier in the game,” said BYU sophomore Yoeli Childs, who had a career-high 29 points. “I mean, we were getting kills [three consecutive stops] earlier in the game, but at the end they kept going on runs and we couldn’t get that second or third stop in a row.”

Childs missed a point-blank shot after controlling the tip in overtime, and it was downhill from there for the Cougars, outscored 14-4 in the extra session.

“Offensively, I was missing bunnies,” said Childs, who played 41 minutes but said he wasn’t gassed at the end. “Our team played a heckuva game. I am proud of how our guys fought. I put that on myself on the offensive end. But we just gotta learn from it and move on to the next one.”

Elijah Bryant played all 45 minutes, as did Naar, and missed on a driving layup attempt after Naar’s second 3-pointer gave the Gaels a 65-62 lead with three minutes remaining in OT.

“I think a lot of it just comes from experience,” said TJ Haws, who went 3 of 10. “They have a lot of seniors on that squad. They have been there many games, and they have played all over the country, played a lot of tough teams. Give them credit. I think we are learning, and I wouldn’t doubt us down the road.”

The rematch is Jan. 25 at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, Calif., where the Gaels haven’t lost this season.