SAN FRANCISCO — Forward Jimbo Lull scored San Francisco’s first six points against BYU Saturday night.
But this game, played before a sellout crowd at War Memorial Gym, would more or less be defined by the Cougars’ jumbo lull in the first half.
USF enjoyed a 16-0 first-half run to pull away from the Cougars, who suffered a seven-minute scoring drought during that crucial stretch, and ended up cruising to a decisive 82-63 victory.
BYU forward Yoeli Childs took responsibility for the loss.
“In the first half, I was horrible on the offensive end. I can’t miss that many shots," said Childs, who scored a game-high 25 points after scoring just six in the first half. "This loss is on me. I was horrible on the offensive end tonight. Absolutely horrible. That killed us. If I come out and make some layups, it’s probably a lot different game.”
For the Cougars, this was no San Francisco treat.
It marked the Dons’ first home victory over BYU since the Cougars joined the league in 2012, snapping a seven-game losing streak. At times it appeared that USF was taking out seven years of frustration against BYU.
“We got in a situation where offensively they had us scouted really well and they took us out of things," said coach Dave Rose. "Instead of being patient we took some really ill-advised shots in the first half that created opportunities in transition for them. … They had the patience, exactly the opposite, to get the shot they wanted rather than to settle for the first shot available to them. Give them credit.”
“We just individually, defensively, kind of hung our heads after they made tough plays," said junior guard Zac Seljaas. "We kind of didn’t have that edge defensively that we wanted. Other than that, props to them for making shots and playing as hard as they did.”
The Cougars, who saw their three-game overall winning streak come to an end, fell to 12-9 and 4-2 in the West Coast Conference while the Dons improved to 16-3 and 4-1.
San Francisco shot a torrid 64 percent from the floor. The Dons had balanced scoring, led by Frankie Ferrari, who finished with a team-high 21 points. Jamaree Bouyea scored 15, Matt McCarthy had 14, Charles Minlend added 10 and Jordan Ratinho also had 10.
T.J. Haws had 12 points two days after pouring in a career-high 34 points in a win at Pepperdine.
Finding itself down by 13 at halftime, BYU battled back early in the second half with an 8-3 run as Childs scored five straight points for the Cougars and McKay Cannon buried a 3-pointer and cut the deficit to 46-37.
But almost every time BYU would get within single digits, USF would go up by double-digits again.
With four minutes remaining, the Dons seized a 75-55 lead after a 3-pointer by Ferrari.
After keeping the game close early on, BYU dug itself a hole in the first half. At the 12:28 mark, BYU actually led, 15-13, after a 6-0 run.
That’s when San Francisco took control thanks to a commanding 16-0 run that included four 3-pointers. And when the Dons weren’t knocking down threes, they were getting easy layups or dunks.
During that stretch, the Cougars failed to score for more than seven minutes and missed 12 consecutive shots.
“Sometimes shots don’t fall. We were trying to get good looks," Seljaas said. "Yoeli was in the post and those are shots he shoots all year long and they were rolling out. It was hard at the start but we got through it.”
San Francisco extended its lead to as many as 18 points, 39-21, with two minutes remaining in the half before Haws scored eight points late in the half to keep BYU within shouting distance.
At halftime, USF led 43-29. The Dons were shooting 65 percent from the floor (19 of 29) and 56 percent from 3 (5 of 9).
BYU, meanwhile, shot 35 percent in the first half (11 of 31), including 36 percent from 3 (4 of 11).22 comments on this story
USF enjoyed balanced scoring in the first half as McCarthy scored 10 points, with Bouyea adding nine and Minlend chipping in seven. The Dons outscored the Cougars in the paint, 28-12.
While Haws finished the first half with 10 points, Childs scored just six on 2 of 11 shooting from the field.
BYU hosts Saint Mary’s Thursday.
TIP-INS: Childs has extended his streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures to 27 … Cannon made a career-high three 3-pointers … Haws started his 90th consecutive game for the Cougars.