Men’s basketball falls to USD Toreros despite late effort

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Unorganized defense and missed free throws led to BYU’s downfall in its 68–74 loss to the San Diego Toreros Thursday night.

BYU missed a total of 11 free throws and allowed the Toreros to shoot 50 percent from the field.

Following Thursday’s loss, BYU holds a 18–7 overall record and a 8–3 record in conference play while USD has a 13–12 overall record and a 6–4 record in the WCC.

Brandon Davies dunks the ball against Santa Clara on Feb. 2. Davies scored 20 points in last night’s loss to San Diego. (Photo by Whitnie Soelberg)

The Cougars got off to a hot start with an 18–10 lead nine minutes into the first half, but couldn’t hold on with USD hitting big shot after big shot.

“We just came up short tonight and a lot of it was San Diego making plays when we kept coming up short,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “In the first half we gave them some easy shots and in the second we did a better job of not doing that, but they even made the difficult shots. It crushed our momentum but not the spirit of our guys — we kept fghting.”

Tyler Haws finished with a game-high 27 points, scoring 12 of BYU’s last 13 points of the game, and cutting the deficit to two points with four minutes left. Brandon Davies continued his double-double effort with 20 points and 10 rebounds, making it his fourth straight double-double game and eighth on the season.

“I’m proud of how Brandon played tonight,” Rose said. “He was agressive in the second half after foul trouble in the first. Our guys got it to him and he scored for us. That’s a guy who’s just tyring to will his team to win.”

Playing at a fast-pace is key to winning games, but with a couple of offensive fouls called on the Cougars, their aggressiveness eased up and they didn’t attack the basket as often.

“We got down by too much in the second half and guys were trying to do too much,” Haws said. “We need to get back to our pace and I know we’ll do that going forward.”

Rose has been changing the line-ups to adjust to their opponent in past games, but tonight it wasn’t enough. After starting with his original starters, Rose replaced Josh Sharp and Brock Zylstra with Nate Austin and Craig Cusick to start the second half.

Prior to Thursday’s game, Matt Carlino scored in double-digits for 10 consecutive games, but hit a bump in the road and only scored nine against the Toreros.

Despite the tough loss, the Cougars know they must come out strong and stick to their game plan to win their last six games before tournament games start.

“Playing from behind, you can’t make the mistakes we made,” Rose said. “It was a winnable game, there’s no question about that.”

The Cougars are now 4–5 when trailing at halftime, but they hope to stop playing from behind and execute when necessary.

“We’ll bounce back and be ready for Saturday,” Haw said.

BYU returns home to play San Francisco on Saturday at 7 p.m. MST at the Marriott Center. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and KSL radio.

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