Bodies are wearing down. But we’ve got to be tough. That’s where mental toughness comes in. We have to out-tough teams mentally. —BYU guard TJ Haws
SAN DIEGO — BYU entered Saturday’s afternoon game at San Diego having won back-to-back overtime games — at home against San Francisco last week and at Pepperdine last Thursday.
But the Cougars didn’t use that as an excuse after a 75-62 loss to the Toreros at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Did having to play an extra 10 minutes the past two games take a toll?
“I don’t think so. It’s February. Bodies are wearing down,” said guard TJ Haws. “But we’ve got to be tough. That’s where mental toughness comes in. We have to out-tough teams mentally.”
San Diego took control of the game early and didn’t let go. BYU led only once, 9-8.
“Not necessarily,” said guard Zac Seljaas when asked if playing two OT games in a row was hard on his team physically. “We didn’t have that first punch when you come out and play. We started out slow and we weren’t able to catch up against a good team like San Diego. You can’t let them get ahead like that at the start.”
COMING OFF THE BENCH: Seljaas tied his season high with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting Saturday. He made 1 of 2 3-point attempts.
It marked the first time Seljaas has scored in double figures since an 11-point performance at Santa Clara on Jan. 13.
“Whenever you play good or hit a shot, it brings confidence,” Seljaas said. “When you miss a shot, that’s always in the back of your mind. When you make one, that’s always the last shot that you made so you’ve got to keep going with that. It’s definitely a confidence-booster.”
Seljaas has been coming off the bench the past five games after starting the previous seven.
“It’s been good, just being able to play hard,” Seljaas said of his new role. “It’s a team game. It’s being able to find the right group of guys and make the best of it.”
EJECTED: Late in the first half, San Diego’s Juwan Gray committed a flagrant 2 foul and was ejected after throwing an elbow at Dalton Nixon’s jaw.
The referees didn’t see it live, but they watched it on a monitor before assessing Gray with the foul.
TIP-INS: BYU made 19 of 21 shots from the free throw line while San Diego made 24 of 32 from the charity stripe. The Cougars had just five turnovers against the Toreros. USD’s bench outscored BYU’s bench, 36-18.