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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.”

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.”