BYU men's basketball: Cougars bounce back strong, defeat San Diego (+video highlights)
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
PROVO — Suffering from an acute case of Dellavedova-itis this week, the BYU basketball team was eager to return to the court Saturday night.
If the Cougars were experiencing a malaise in the wake of a painful, one-point loss Wednesday to Saint Mary's after guard Matthew Dellavedova's buzzer-beater, they didn't let it show in front of a crowd of 17,281 at the Marriott Center.
A 74-57 victory over San Diego was just what the doctor ordered.
"It was good to bounce back after that heartbreaker," BYU guard Brock Zylstra said.
As for the mood of the team going into the game, Zylstra said, "The first day (after the defeat) we were a little upset. Of course, we weren't in the highest of spirits. But the next day, we really got after it and practiced hard. Shootaround before the game was great. Everybody was locked in. We were ready to get this win to get that loss off our backs."
What made the victory even more special? It marked Dave Rose's 200th win as BYU's head coach. Rose became the second coach at BYU to reach 200 career victories. The first man to accomplish the feat was Stan Watts, who had 371 career wins.
After the game, Rose was presented with the game ball by athletic director Tom Holmoe.
Asked by reporters what the milestone means to him, Rose credited those who have helped along the way.
"The wins, so many people are responsible for that. It's interesting that one guy gets the credit, because I've had so many great coaches here," Rose said. "The players are terrific. They're committed and obviously they're really talented guys and play for each other. I think way more about the players who have been here and the teams and the chemistry on these teams than I think about the wins. We got it, so we can move on and not talk about it for a while."
With the win, BYU improved to 15-5 overall and 5-1 in the West Coast Conference while San Diego dropped to 11-9 and 4-1.
Just days after being knocked out of the WCC's first-place perch and being handed their first conference loss by Saint Mary's, the Cougars slapped San Diego with its first loss in league play and pushed the Toreros out of first place. BYU also snapped San Diego's five-game winning streak.
And the Cougars turned in a dominating performance, outshooting San Diego 45 percent to 37 percent and outrebounding the Toreros, 44-29.
Speaking of rebounds, forward Brandon Davies, who had exactly zero against Saint Mary's, recorded seven boards to go along with 17 points.
"You can't beat good teams with me getting zero rebounds," Davies said. "I took a lot of blame for that loss. The good thing is, we got this win tonight and we can get things rolling again."
"He wants to be a leader of this team," Rose said of Davies. "Nights when things don't go his way, he's a guy that takes that to heart and responds to it. There are a couple of guys on this team that are carrying a pretty huge load because we need them to play consistently well for us to be good. I was really pleased with how he responded."
BYU enjoyed good scoring balance. Guard Tyler Haws poured in a game-high 25 points, Matt Carlino chipped in 11 and Zylstra added 10.
Defensively, Zylstra did a solid job, for the most part, on San Diego's leading scorer, guard Johnny Dee.
Dee failed to score until the final two minutes of the first half, as he hit three 3-pointers just before intermission. Dee finished with a team-high 15 points, with five 3's.
"They're really good because of what he does and the way he shoots the ball," Zylstra said of Dee. "That was a big emphasis at the beginning of the game, not to let him get going. It was good until about four minutes left in the half."
BYU fell behind 8-3 in the opening minutes, but a 23-5 run in first half turned a 10-5 deficit into a 28-15 lead with 8:17 left.
The Cougars led by as many as 19 points, 39-20, before Dee scored his flurry of points to make it 43-31 for the Cougars at halftime.
In the second half, BYU kept the Toreros at bay. The Cougars weren't about to let San Diego back in the game, like they allowed Saint Mary's to do.
"This was an emotional game," Rose said, "after an emotional loss."
And maybe BYU has that case of Dellavedova-itis out of its system.
The Cougars visit No. 8 Gonzaga next Thursday.
NOTES: Two BYU football players who are returning for their senior seasons, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and wide receiver Cody Hoffman, were honored at halftime. Van Noy carried the Poinsettia Bowl trophy and addressed the crowd. "Beat Utah," Van Noy told fans … Carlino scored in double-figures for the sixth consecutive game … Zylstra tied his career-high with six assists … Nate Austin grabbed a season-high nine rebounds … The Cougars outscored San Diego in the paint, 32-18.
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