PROVO — It was one step up and one step back for BYU.
The Cougars earned another road split over the weekend, which started with a win at Pepperdine Thursday followed by an 82-63 setback at San Francisco Saturday.
BYU (12-9, 4-2) dropped from second place in the West Coast Conference standings to fourth place behind Gonzaga (5-0), Saint Mary’s (4-1) and USF (4-1).
The good news for the Cougars is, their next three games are at home. But two of those contests are against the Gaels Thursday and against the No. 5 Zags on Jan. 31.
What did BYU take away from this road swing?
“The most important thing is that you stay together through disappointment,” said coach Dave Rose. “The guys still believe in each other and they believe in themselves. They have confidence in the coaches and the game plans. That’s a big part of the process we’re going through.”
Though he finished with a game-high 25 points, forward Yoeli Childs blamed himself for Saturday’s loss. Childs went 2 of 11 from the floor in the first half but hit 7 of 10 shots in the second half.
“In the first half, I was horrible on the offensive end. I can’t miss that many shots. This loss is on me. I was horrible on the offensive end tonight. Absolutely horrible. That killed us,” he said. “Our guys play so hard — guys like T.J. (Haws) showing up every single night. Obviously, it’s not always completely on one person. But it sucks to let your team down. If I come out and make some layups, it’s probably a lot different game.
“Each one of us needs to lock in and see what we can do better,” Childs added. “I’ve got to put more work in and everybody needs to put more work in, too. If the season doesn’t go the way we want it to, then it’s probably going to be on me and a couple of guys that need to step up and make plays because all of our other guys are playing great.”
Rose said the entire team needs to be accountable for the defeat.
“Yo puts a lot of pressure on himself and he responds to it pretty well,” he said. “But there’s no question that all of us could have played better (Saturday) and had a better result.”
BYU led 15-13 before USF went on a game-changing 16-0 run to go up 29-15. The Dons drilled four 3-pointers during that span. Meanwhile, the Cougars went more than seven minutes without scoring.
So what happened during that prolonged scoring drought?
“We didn’t have any patience to get what we wanted. Guys were trying to do it themselves,” Rose said. “You take those shots that surprise your teammates and you’re not in position to get back. It was kind of like a turnover. They scored quite a few possessions when we were stuck on 15 (points) on transition baskets.”
“We got too much into the mindset of, we’ve got to fix this, we’ve got to fix this, instead of trusting what we do,” Childs explained. “San Francisco did a great job of trusting what they do, sharing the ball, being patient on the offensive end and they were great in transition. You can see why they are having such a good year. They did a great job of playing together and for each other. It is not that our guys are selfish. It’s that all of us are so competitive. I was taking shots I shouldn’t have taken. Other guys were doing the same thing. That’s not the way to do things.”
For the game, BYU allowed USF to shoot 64 percent from the floor. The Cougars shot only 44 percent.18 comments on this story
“We just individually, defensively, kind of hung our heads after they made tough plays,” said 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.”
Now the Cougars have a rematch with Saint Mary’s, which drilled BYU, 88-66, in Moraga on Jan. 5.
“We’re just going to figure out how they beat us last time and how to tune those things up,” Seljaas said. “We just need to play BYU basketball and good things will go out of that.”