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BYU men's basketball notebook: Elijah Bryant overcomes struggles and yellow hats for the fans

PROVO — As good as Elijah Bryant proved at the close of BYU's 75-73 overtime win over San Francisco on Saturday, the rest of the game served as a model of frustration for the team's leading scorer.

Due to drawing a lot of the focus of the Dons' physical defensive play, Bryant found himself without the ball on too many possessions and finished with just eight attempted shots. He ultimately fouled out in overtime, after being whistled for two made on the offensive end while trying to force action.

But the ending made whatever frustrations Bryant went through more than worth it.

“Just sticking with it and believing in myself,” Bryant said of his final 3-point basket which put the game into overtime. “It was a tough game, there, couldn’t get any calls, so just playing until the end. TJ (Haws) was able to find me, and Yoeli (Childs) was able to set a great screen, and I got it off.”

As for perhaps not receiving some of the calls allotted to other players of his caliber, the 6-foot-6 junior guard stated, “Yeah, it’s frustrating, but I just got to keep on playing my game. I can’t really tell them how to do their job. But yeah, it’s frustrating.”

ROSE BITES HIS TONGUE: It's difficult to get any coach to talk about officiating, although BYU coach Dave Rose appeared poised to do as much, before cutting himself off in his postgame comments. Rose's angst wasn't aimed entirely at the crew that officiated Saturday's win, but from what he's experienced throughout the season.

During Saturday's game, BYU went without a single free throw in the first half, before ending with 23 for the game.

When asked why that was, Rose grinned and stated,

“We should have a press conference for the two coaches, and then have a press conference for the officials. We should do that, so you guys can ask them that question, because I can’t answer it.”

BYU was the beneficiary of what could well be viewed as an uncommon foul call late, which resulted in Haws' two game-winning free throws. The call was made on San Francisco's Souley Boum reaching in for a steal as Haws dribbled around the perimeter.

“Boum tried to slap it away, steal it, and we ended up at the free throw line, and that was not the case for most of the game. It’s interesting,” Rose said.

YELLOW HATS: Due to the game appearing to be lost in the final minutes, many of the 12,815 fans who attended the game on Saturday weren't there to see the spectacular comeback effort.

“Too bad for them,” Rose said when asked of those fans. “Maybe we can get the camera, pick them out, and make them wear a yellow hat next time.”


Twitter: @BrandonCGurney