BYU men’s basketball grinded out a 69-67 win University of San Diego in the two teams’ first meeting of the season.
The Toreros out-shot the Cougars in every aspect of the game: 43 percent to 35 percent from the field, 42 percent to 31 percent in 3-point shooting and 77 percent to 71 percent in free throw shooting. But BYU still found a way to win.
BYU head coach Dave Rose said the team has had problems winning when they haven’t made parameter shots, but they sealed the win by driving at the rim, getting to the free throw line, and making just enough plays.
“That’s a great win and our guys found a whole lot of different ways in which we can win a game, especially without making shots,” Rose said.
The Cougars trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, but senior guard Kyle Collinsworth carried the team as they battled back. Freshman guard Jordan Chatman hit a basket from behind the arc at the end of the half to bring BYU within five points, 32-27.
Rose praised Collinsworth for trying to win the game while everyone else was struggling. Collinsworth led the Cougars with 25 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
Senior guard Chase Fischer and freshman guard Nick Emery both failed to score in the first half but combined for 26 points in the second half, scoring 14 and 12, respectively. Rose described the team as “very fortunate” to have great plays by Fischer and Emery open up the second half. Fischer nailed a shot beyond the arc while Emery made a free throw after making a layup.
BYU took a 41-38 lead in the second half, but San Diego quickly tied it 42-42 and then again at 57-57. The Cougars broke away after the next basket and held on to the lead for the rest of the game. BYU led by as many as six points in the final minutes but a Toredo 3-pointer brought it down to just two as the Cougars walked away with a 69-67 win.
“I’m just proud of the guys, of how they stayed in there and competed,” Rose said. “That’s what I wanted tonight — I wanted to compete, no matter what happened. I wanted to see how we could overcome some real adversity here.”
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center Saturday, February 20 to host San Diego in a rare back-to-back series. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. (MST).