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Jeffrey D. Allred,
Brigham Young Cougars forward Eric Mika (12) grabs a rebound on San Francisco Dons forward Remu Raitanen (11) in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.
Boyce is a heckuva player. He’s their leading scorer. We were a little confused but it was their coach’s decision. I’m proud of our guys for sticking to our game plan. —BYU guard Nick Emery

PROVO — Going into Thursday’s game at BYU, San Francisco guard Ronnie Boyce was averaging a team-high 16 points in a reserve role.

But in an 85-75 loss to the Cougars, Boyce played only two minutes. Not only did he not score any points, he didn’t even attempt a field goal.

BYU coach Dave Rose said he was “very surprised” that Boyce didn’t play more.

“He was in there for a couple of minutes and then we never saw him again,” Rose said.

Instead of relying on Boyce, USF coach Kyle Smith looked to a couple of freshmen off the bench for scoring.

Freshman forward Remu Raitanen recorded a career-high 16 points and 7-foot freshman center Jimbo Lull also had a career-high 12 points. Both Raitanen and Lull made plays around the basket and Raitanen knocked down four 3-pointers. Starting forward Nate Renfro added 10 points.

“They had a definite plan. We were switching a lot of things (defensively),” Rose said. “When they got a matchup they liked, they just drove that thing. We didn’t have an answer. We’ll have to address that the next time we see them.”

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BYU guard Nick Emery was also surprised that Boyce didn’t see more action, especially because he was a big part of the Cougars’ defensive game plan heading into the contest.

“Boyce is a heckuva player,” Emery said. “He’s their leading scorer. We were a little confused but it was their coach’s decision. I’m proud of our guys for sticking to our game plan.”

As a team, USF hit 8 of 33 3-pointers (24 percent) and was 29 of 68 from the floor (43 percent).

“We guarded the 3-point line pretty well at times,” Rose said. “We got exposed on dribble penetration. That’s what they’re really good at.”