The ability to stop runs and get the momentum back on the road — the first time with this group in league — paid dividends for us. —BYU head coach Dave Rose
STOCKTON, Calif. — In BYU’s first West Coast Conference road game of the season, coach Dave Rose liked what he saw from his team in terms of execution, resilience and defensive effort, especially in the waning moments.
Over the final eight minutes of the Cougars’ 69-59 victory over San Francisco Thursday night, they outscored the Dons, 16-3.
“The ability to stop runs and get the momentum back on the road — the first time with this group in league — paid dividends for us,” Rose said. “It was good.”
BYU's road trip continues Saturday (8 p.m., MST, BYUtv) when it visits Pacific at the Spanos Center.
One week ago in Provo, BYU failed to execute in crucial stretches and fell to Saint Mary’s in overtime. But against San Francisco, the Cougars played solid defense late.
The Dons seized their first lead, 55-53, with less than eight minutes remaining before BYU clamped down.
“I thought that we were just really good down the stretch. We executed really well. We got to the 7:40 mark and (USF) took the lead," Rose said. "We were in the timeout and the guys were pretty determined that we were going to execute better than we did the other night and finish this off. We got some big offensive plays, but defensively is where we won that thing down the stretch."
Rose knows that defense is the key to winning road games.
Against USF, BYU held the Dons’ leading scorer, Souley Boum, to seven points. The Dons hit 8 of 25 3-pointers.
“They shot 42 3s the last time they played. We were trying to keep it around 20 with less than 10 makes,” Rose said of USF. “(Boum) is a driver and a good finisher at the rim. He gets going by making shots. (Chase) Foster was able to get us a few times for 3s. Then (Matt) McCarthy hit one. It seemed like everything was going in their favor there for a while. Then we were able to turn it back.
“The way it felt, it was four or five different momentum changes,” Rose added. “We seemed to have it for a while and then they came back and finished the first half and got a little lead. In the second half we scored one point in the first four or five minutes. We got that thing fixed.”
BYU guard Elijah Bryant scored a game-high 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds. He was happy with the way his team bounced back from last week’s loss to Saint Mary’s, which snapped the Cougars’ nine-game winning streak.
“We expect to win every single game we play,” Bryant said. “We had to get back our winning mentality and that’s what we did.”
Early in the second half, Bryant fell hard to the floor and suffered a hip-pointer but he finished the game.
“He was in pain. He hit that hip bone hard on the floor,” Rose said. “We were having a heckuva time scoring at that time of the game. We fought through it. We’ll see how he is (Saturday).”
Forward Yoeli Childs, who sat on the bench for 10 minutes with foul trouble, scored 13 points and collected eight rebounds.
"They were really physical with Yo," Rose said. "He comes off a big game the other night and (USF's) focus was to make it really difficult on him. He started off with a foul on the very first possession. Then he got his second one. That was a big turning point. His defensive effort, his focus, his whole execution and toughness in the last eight minutes kind of changed for us. He made huge plays — a couple of big dunks. I thought he really grew up tonight as far as his ability to deal with adversity and then come back and help his team win."
BYU also got important contributions from guard Jahshire Hardnett (11 points) Luke Worthington (9 points), Payton Dastrup (7 points) and TJ Haws (7 points).
Pacific is coming off a 74-56 loss at Saint Mary’s Thursday night. The Tigers (6-10, 1-2) are led by guard Roberto Gallinat, who averages 13.6 points per game.
“This will be a completely different game for us. This team here shot 25 3s (Thursday),” Rose said. “Pacific might not shoot 10 3s on Saturday. They’re driving, athletic, get it to the rim. A big part of this game Saturday will be our ability to guard without fouling them, especially in the first half.”
Rose added that he’ll likely give more playing time to freshman Rylan Bergerson.
“We need to get Ry some more minutes. He’s playing really well in practice,” he said. “It gives us a steady nine-man rotation. That will really help us on the road.”
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Cougars on the air
BYU (13-3, 2-1)
at Pacific (6-10, 1-2)
Saturday, 8 p.m. MST Spanos Center
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM