Las Vegas • Noah Robotham spoiled BYU’s spirited second-half comeback by making a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime to give UNLV a 92-90 win over the Cougars on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
BYU overcame a 17-point halftime deficit to force overtime, and led 90-89 in the extra session when Jahshire Hardnett made a layup with 18 seconds remaining. But Robotham, who entered the game shooting 24 percent from 3-point range, made the Rebels’ 13th 3-pointer to win it.
“The kid just jumped up and made a shot,” BYU coach Dave Rose told the BYU radio network. “You have to give him credit.”
BYU dropped to 8-5 in suffering its second overtime loss of the season, while UNLV snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 5-4.
Yoeli Childs led BYU with 25 points while playing 44 of 45 minutes in the game. TJ Haws and Hardnett scored 19 points apiece.
Zac Seljaas missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation that would have won it for the Cougars. He finished with 10 points before fouling out.
“It was one of those games where you feel like as a coach and as a team that you should have won it,” Rose said. “That’s going to sting a little bit for the guys.”
The Cougars led for most of overtime, but Amauri Harding hit a jumper with 1:50 remaining in overtime to give the Rebels an 87-85 lead. Haws’ layup with just under a minute left gave BYU an 88-87 lead.
But the Cougars committed their 24th foul seconds later, and Hardy made two free throws with 37 seconds left to give the Rebels the lead again. He was 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.
Hardnett said he thought his layup had won it for the Cougars, but UNLV had other ideas. The Rebels shot 48 percent from 3-point range after shooting less than 30 percent in their three previous games, all losses.
“Our mindset just changed,” Hardnett said of the comeback. “We saw a few balls go in and it boosted our defensive intensity. … Two weeks ago, I don’t know if we could have came back from that.”
While the Rebels hit 13 of 27 3-point attempts, BYU was just 5 of 16 from deep.
The Cougars made 10 more field goals than the Rebels, but were outscored 27-13 from the free-throw line.
“I really feel for our guys,” Rose said. “They left everything out there and played their hearts out.”
UNLV, which snapped a two-game losing streak to BYU from the 2010-11 season when both schools were members of the Mountain West Conference, went on a 30-9 run at the end of the first half and led 47-30 at halftime.
The Rebels were 9 of 16 from beyond the arc in the first half in building the big lead.
Haws and Seljaas hit 3-pointers to open the second half and the Cougars started cutting into the big lead.
UNLV’s Kris Clyburn, the team’s leading scorer, fouled out with 21 points with 3:43 remaining in regulation.
The Cougars took their first lead since midway through the first half when Hardnett made a 3-point play with 2:22 left.
BYU led by two and had the ball with under a minute left, but Haws’ open 3-point attempt from the top of the key was off, and UNLV’s Joel Ntambwe hit two free throws with 27 seconds remaining to tie it at 83 apiece.
The Cougars called timeout with 27 seconds left and worked the ball around for the final shot. Nick Emery, who scored nine points off the bench, penetrated and then found Seljaas for the jumper.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, Seljaas’ shot was just long, while Robotham’s buzzer-beater found the bottom of the net four minutes later.