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BYU faces Ole Miss in arena where it made NCAA history

DAYTON, Ohio – BYU is back in the building where it pulled off the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history.

The Cougars (25-9) play Mississippi (20-12) in a First Four game on Tuesday night at the University of Dayton Arena.

It’s the same place where BYU made history three years ago. The winner goes to Jacksonville, Florida, to play sixth-seeded Xavier on Thursday afternoon.

BYU fell behind Iona by 25 points in the first half of a First Four game in 2012, but rallied for a 78-72 win that was the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history. Coach Dave Rose thought back to that game when the Cougars arrived in town on Monday, hoping for more good energy.

“I hope it’s the second-half mojo and not the first half,” Rose said. “We were able to get on a roll and finish that game off. I think this game could be similar to that.”

It could be one of those don’t-blink-or-else games.

The teams have never met, but are similar in that they like to push the pace and feel more comfortable when there are a lot of shots in the air.

“We’re a unique team,” BYU guard Kyle Collinsworth said. “We push the ball. We get a ton of 3s. If we can play our game, I think we’ll have a chance.”

Ole Miss averaged 72.6 points per game. BYU scored at a pace of 83.6 points per game.

“Their pace of play is unlike anything we’ve seen this season,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “People think I’m a liberal offensive coach. I’m the most conservative coach you’ve ever seen compared to the way that BYU runs and shoots quickly.”

Ole Miss is making its second trip to Dayton this season. The Rebels lost to the Flyers 78-74 on Dec. 30 and are 0-2 all-time at UD Arena. At least they know what the rims are like.

“We’ve been here before and we kind of have a feel for the building and the arena,” guard Stefan Moody said.

JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer