LAS VEGAS — Brandon Davies brought his A game to Vegas for the West Coast Conference tournament. Davies — along with Tyler Haws — led a BYU comeback that fell just short against the upset-minded University of San Diego. The Toreros were able to hold on down the stretch, winning 72-69 and sending BYU home early.
GUARDS: Tyler Haws led the guard line, scoring 20 points on 13 shots (54 percent FG, 50 percent 3-pointers). Matt Carlino and Brock Zylstra combined for 17 points while shooting 43 percent from the field. Those two combined for five turnovers, while Carlino — who left the game briefly in the second half with a knee injury — also had seven rebounds. Carlino also hit a 3-point shot with six seconds remaining to give BYU one last chance for overtime. GRADE: B+
POST PLAYERS: Davies nearly had a triple-double (20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists) in the loss. The senior also stayed out of foul trouble throughout the game, which hasn’t always been the case during his career. Nate Austin got the start against USD, but wasn’t as much of a factor. Austin tallied only six points and four rebounds, while committing five personal fouls. His defense did help to keep the Cougars in the game, as Austin drew two big offensive fouls in the second half. Davies deserved a higher grade for his effort, but Austin’s performance lowered it just slightly. GRADE: B+
BENCH: The Cougar bench again struggled to help the starters in a game that was winnable. The leading substitute for Dave Rose’s squad was Craig Cusick, who had four points, one rebound, one steal and one assist while shooting 66 percent. The only other bench player to score was forward Josh Sharp, who registered two points in the loss. Veteran Anson Winder and newcomers Corey Calvert and Agustin Ambrosino didn’t register any stats besides rebounds. Bronson Kaufusi’s physical play again lead to multiple fouls and he will likely be returning to the football team sooner than later. GRADE: D+
OVERALL: BYU came out of the locker room sluggish in the first half and only Davies played notably well during the first several minutes of the game, as the Cougars fell behind by as many as 11 points during the first half. The starting guards started out with cold shooting, but quickly found their rhythm as they closed the gap to only seven points at halftime.
The second half was much better for Davies and Co., as they started the half on a 10-2 run and took their first lead of the game at 40-38. But San Diego wouldn’t go away, and the two teams battled down the stretch, exchanging the lead multiple times. Often, the Toreros would extend their lead to four points with BYU fighting back, but the Cougars couldn’t grab the lead for good. Now, the Rose's team will hope for a berth in the NIT in the coming weeks after squandering some great performances by Davies and Haws. GRADE: B
Landon Walters is a history and political science major at Salt Lake Community College. He is an avid sports fan and loves writing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org