LAS VEGAS — No. 3 seed BYU watched a 17-point second-half lead evaporate before fending off sixth-seeded San Diego in an 85-79 win Saturday in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena.
Turning point: After San Diego cut its deficit to 79-76 with 23 seconds to play following an and-one from Isaiah Pineiro, Yoeli Childs found an open McKay Cannon for a long pass over the pressing Torero defense, leading to an open layup for an 81-76 lead. Childs then hit two free throws and finished the win off with a slam dunk as BYU outscored San Diego 10-6 in the final minute.
The heroes: Elijah Bryant scored a game-high 27 points to pace the Cougars, shooting 10 of 13 from the field and hitting BYU's only three 3-pointers. Childs added 22 points and eight rebounds, while TJ Haws had 13 points and three assists.
- The second half was defined by big runs, including a 17-3 run from BYU to build a 60-43 lead. San Diego responded with a 12-0 run to make it 71-71 with 3:28 to play.
- Foul trouble hit both teams, as Bryant played just 26 minutes, missing the final seven minutes of the first half and the final 2:06 of regulation when he picked up his fifth foul. Haws fouled out with 16.1 secconds to play. San Diego's leading scorer, Pinerio, picked up his third foul in the first half and finished with four.
- The Cougars outshot the Toreros from the field, 51.8 percent to 46.8 percent, to counteract San Diego hitting 10 3-pointers to three for BYU. Free-throw shooting was also tight, as the Toreros made 25 of 32, the Cougars 24 of 32, including 13 of 16 in the second half.
Up next: BYU faces No. 2 Saint Mary's in Monday's semifinals at 9:30 p.m. MST on ESPN2.
Saturday's other WCC tournament men's results
No. 4 San Francisco 71, No. 5 Pacific 70 (overtime)
No. 1 Gonzaga 83, No. 8 Loyola Marymount 69
No. 2 Saint Mary's 69, No. 10 Pepperdine 66