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HAWAII — BYU teams have made it a habit of going down big early.
And they've also made it a habit of almost coming back for a win.
After trailing Harvard by as much as 19-3 in the opening game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, the Cougars led by as much as four points in the final two minutes of regulation before the Crimson used a 6-0 spurt in the final minute of overtime to win, 85-82 on Tuesday.
"It's sad. We let these leads slip away both times, and its just a time for execution," BYU coach Dave Rose told KSL's Greg Wrubell. "In regulation, we turned it over and the last two times in overtime we turned it over. Those are times when you need big shots and big plays.
"Guys need to step up and make those shots and plays and we came up a play short tonight"
BYU (7-4) out-shot the Crimson by two percentage points from the field, but Harvard knocked down 11-of-22 3-pointers — led by former Brighton High standout Corbin Miller's five triples for 17 points.
"We couldn't quite close it out," Davis told Wrubell. "We made a great run to overcome that deficit we were in, but we couldn't finish it off."
Kyle Davis had 23 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Cougars, who also got 23 points, six rebounds and eight assists from Kyle Collinsworth.
For the second-straight game away from home, freshman Zac Seljaas sparked BYU to take a lead into the final minute of the first half. But Miller's 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer gave Harvard a 31-29 lead at the break.
Seljaas finished with eight points and two rebounds, but also fouled out in overtime. Fellow freshman Nick Emery, who also fouled out late, scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
Harvard center Zena Edomsomwan had a game-high 23 points and 17 rebounds for the Crimson (4-6), who advanced to face Auburn in the tournament semifinals.
"He's big and strong, and makes good moves," Davis said. "He's very physical and powerful in the post. It was a battle today between us, and best of luck to Harvard moving forward."
Emery's pass to Davis in the final minute of overtime nearly set the Utah State transfer up for an easy bucket to pull ahead in the waning seconds. But the dish caromed haplessly off Davis' knee for the turnover.
"It was a great pass," Davis said. "I just couldn't squeeze it in and unfortunately it went out of bounds on me."
Chase Fischer had a chance to win it at the buzzer of regulation with the game tied, but his shot fell short of the rim and was collected by the Crimson to send the game into overtime. Officials went to the monitor, but did not find goaltending or any other foul on the game's final play.
After BYU regained the lead on Emery's shot with two minutes remaining, Patrick Steeves knocked down a jumper with 1:41 left to tie the game at 64 points apiece. Fischer scored his first points of the game with a pair of free throws on the next possession, but Steeves finished off a seven-second scoring play with a drive to the rim to tie the game at 66-66 and force the extra session.
BYU started strong in the extra period, and Collinsworth's thunderous dunk gave the Cougars a 75-71 lead with 3:18 left in overtime. But the Crimson finished stronger, and Agunwa Okolie's free throws put the Ivy League power up for good, 83-82 with just under 10 seconds remaining.
"The only thing you can do is move forward," Davis said. "These losses sting. We have a couple this season that hurt, and they are ones we can win if we just play a little better. We've got a quick turnaround with New Mexico tomorrow, and hopefully we can get back on track with that one.
"I think I can speak for the team when I say we are glad there's a game tomorrow. We want to play again … the only way to get right is to get a win."
All four of BYU's losses have come away from the Marriott Center, with three in true road games and Tuesday's defeat being the first on a neutral court.
But it also comes with a chance to move forward quickly — albeit against a former Mountain West rival.
"Hopefully we can put it behind us and get on to the next game," Rose said. "We were in this situation last year, and our guys bounced back pretty good. Hopefully we can stay with that pattern. We wanted to get to that championship game, and now the whole mindset of this tournament is different."
Contributing: Greg Wrubell