The Cougars managed to hold on and beat the San Diego Toreros 78-70 on Saturday afternoon. After BYU took a 16 point lead in the first half, San Diego was able to climb back into the game thanks to some great outside shooting. They hit on 10-of-26 shots from 3-point range including six makes from junior guard Christopher Anderson.
The Toreros comeback was also aided by 12 offensive rebounds and some pressure defense as San Diego was able to force BYU into 17 turnovers. After losing the lead midway through the second half, the Cougars were able to respond down the stretch to secure the win.
Tyler Haws led the way for BYU with 25 points while Matt Carlino chipped in 14 points and six assists off the bench.
San Diego was led by Anderson who finished with 22 points to go with four rebounds, six assists and four steals. The Toreros also received a nice effort from Jito Kok who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The starting backcourt
Tyler Haws made 11-of-20 shots from the floor while making half of his 3-point attempts. Anson Winder shot the ball well on his way to 11 points. He struggled at the free-throw line, however, going just 1-for-4. He also led the Cougars with five turnovers. He played well on the defensive end and was a key reason Johnny Dee made only 4-of-12 shots from the field. Kyle Collinsworth was his regular steady self and finished with 10 points, five rebounds and a pair of steals.
The starting frontcourt
Luke Worthington didn't attempt a shot and grabbed just one rebound, but did a solid job defensively on the San Diego big men. Nate Austin was active on the glass and led the Cougar with 10 rebounds. He also added nine points on three field goal attempts while making all five of his free-throws.
Other than Matt Carlino, BYU didn't get much from its bench. Eric Mika registered six points and three rebounds while Skyler Halford added just one 3-point shot. Carlino made 3-of-6 shots from distance and led the Cougars in assists. He also grabbed four rebounds in a balanced effort. Josh Sharp played 11 minutes and recorded two steals.
Dave Rose went with the same starting lineup and it paid off again as no Cougar big man had more than three fouls. The Cougars didn't adjust very well to Anderson's hot shooting as they continued to go under the screens after he got rolling. In the end, the coaches stayed calm when the game got close and made the necessary adjustments to get the win.
A game that looked like a blowout from the get-go turned out to be a very good test for the Cougars. BYU turned the ball over far too often and struggled to rebound out of the zone defense for a good portion of the game. They made enough shots down the stretch and got enough defensive stops to leave San Diego as the No. 2 seed in the WCC conference tournament.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company