PROVO — While the BYU basketball team copes with a heartbreaking 70-69 defeat Wednesday to Saint Mary's, the next challenge awaits.
The Cougars are looking to bounce back when they host San Diego on Saturday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv).
The Toreros (11-8, 4-0) are in first place in the West Coast Conference after beating Loyola Marymount, 78-70, Wednesday.
"This will be tough. We're going to have to set it aside and play on, play the next game," BYU coach Dave Rose said after falling to Saint Mary's. "That's part of trying to come together and continue through this. This one will sting. Hopefully, we can get past this and move on."
Cougar players and coaches were not made available to the media Thursday.
BYU (14-5, 4-1) took a 69-67 lead over the Gaels with 2.5 seconds remaining when Tyler Haws hit a difficult fadeaway shot.
Saint Mary's then inbounded the ball to guard Matthew Dellavedova, who dribbled down court, maneuvered around Cougar guard Anson Winder, and knocked down an amazing 35-foot shot at the buzzer to lift the Gaels to a 70-69 victory.
“I’m stunned. I’m at a loss for words,” Haws said. “I thought we had the game won, and Dellavedova hit a big shot, so we have to give him credit.”
With the loss, BYU suffered its first WCC defeat of the season and fell out of first place in the league standings.
The Cougars opened with a 20-4 lead, but the Gaels stormed back to go up by six in the second half. BYU and Saint Mary's were tied seven times, and the lead changed hands 11 times.
Late in the game, both Cougar forward Brandon Davies and Dellavedova picked up their fourth personal fouls. Davies wound up fouling out while Dellavedova remained in the game.
"I don't think we have a chance to win the game if I don't have Dellavedova in there down the stretch," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett explained. "There's no sense in saving him for the last three minutes. I'd rather take a chance and let him stay in the game."
The Gaels' win overshadowed Haws' impressive performance. Haws scored a game-high 23 points while hitting 8-of-16 shots from the field. It marked his sixth consecutive game with at least 20 points. He also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
After making 3-of-9 shots in the first half, Haws hit 5-of-7 shots for 16 points in the second half.
Haws has proved to be a clutch player for BYU. In the last five minutes this season, Haws is 19 of 25 from the field, 3 of 4 from 3-point territory and 15 of 17 from the free-throw line.
Guard Matt Carlino, who missed much of Tuesday's practice due to upper back spasms, started Wednesday against Saint Mary's and had an up-and-down game.
Carlino scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and had five assists, but he also had six turnovers.
"He played hard. He played well," Rose said of Carlino. "He took a couple of tough falls. Hopefully he's all right. We'll see."
While BYU outshot Saint Mary's, 53 percent to 42 percent, the Gaels outrebounded the Cougars, 36-29. Saint Mary's grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.
Davies finished with zero rebounds.