Provo • Fans were hitting the exits, San Francisco’s players and assistant coaches were celebrating on their sidelines and BYU’s 10-game winning streak over the Dons was seeming all but over.

Somehow, the Cougars kept believing, TJ Haws said.

Trailing by six with less than 22 seconds remaining, BYU miraculously rallied, got a few breaks, took advantage of some questionable decisions by the Dons and forced overtime on a 3-point basket by Elijah Bryant with four seconds remaining in regulation. TJ Haws hit a pair of free throws with 4.3 seconds remaining in overtime as BYU escaped with a 75-73 win in front of an announced crowd of 12,815 at the Marriott Center on Saturday afternoon.

“It is hard to win games,” BYU coach Dave Rose said with a sigh. “I am really happy for our guys. We made enough plays to get it to overtime, and then one more play to win it. So, good for us.”

It was a devastating loss for the Dons, who will probably see BYU again in the WCC Tournament.

San Francisco (14-12, 6-7) led 61-54 with less than a minute remaining, but Haws hit a 3-pointer, Yoeli Childs made a rebound basket and Jashire Hardnett followed with a 3-point play after Bryant’s big steal.

The Dons threw the ball long to an open Soulie Boum after Hardnett’s free throw, but rather than run around some and take time off the clock, he made a layup to put the Dons ahead by three with 11.2 second left, just as the BYU coaching staff hoped he would.

During the timeout, assistant coach Heath Schroyer drew up a play to get Bryant open, and he delivered.

“I just stuck with it and believed in myself,” said Bryant, who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out in overtime. “I had a tough game, couldn’t get any calls. Just played to the end. TJ was able to find me, and Yoeli set a great screen and I got it off.”

The Dons made the first two baskets in overtime and were up 72-69 when Frankie Ferrari hit an NBA-range 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining. But Haws scored BYU’s final eight points, including a game-tying layup with 40 seconds left and the clinching free throws after Zac Seljaas got a steal. Haws finished with a season-high 26 points and seven assists.

Boum fouled Haws 40 feet from the basket while reaching in to slap the ball away. Haws said it was “for sure” a foul and he wasn’t surprised that referee Klaus Endrissat made the call.

And so ended a strange game in which the Cougars (19-7, 8-5) got no free throws in the first half and 23 in the second, making 18. They also committed 19 turnovers, but none in the final four minutes of regulation of the five-minute overtime period.

Boum scored 19 of his team-high 21 for the Dons in the second half, and USF made eight 3-pointers and came up with 11 steals to come within a whisker of pulling off a huge upset as a 10-point underdog. Rose said he felt sorry for coach Kyle Smith’s team, which “played tremendous the whole game” and came closer than ever before

“I guess that is how you kind of expect all these games to be the second time around,” Rose said. “We’ve played each other, everybody knows each other, and they’ve seen each other and watched it. It was a great crowd, too.”

Including some who missed a remarkable comeback.

“Too bad for them,” Rose said with a laugh. “Maybe we will get the camera and pick them out and have them all wear a yellow hat or something next time.”


• TJ Haws makes a pair of free throws with 4.3 seconds remaining in overtime as BYU escapes San Francisco’s upset bid.

• The Dons lead by six with 39 seconds remaining in regulation, but Jahshire Hardnett makes a 3-point play with 13 seconds left and Elijah Bryant hits a 3-pointer with four seconds left to force overtime.

• The Cougars commit 19 turnovers, but none in the final four minutes of regulation or in overtime.