LAS VEGAS — BYU rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to beat San Diego in overtime last month. The Cougars led by as many as 20 at home in a victory over the Toreros last week.
Well, USD avenged those two regular-season losses — and then some — Saturday night at Orleans Arena.
The No. 7-seed Toreros seized an early lead, knocked out and humiliated the No. 3 Cougars, 80-57, in the West Coast Conference quarterfinals.
BYU, the school known for being stone-cold sober, was just plain stone cold. The Cougars lost by 23 but it was actually much worse than that. San Diego led by as many as 44 points midway through the second half.
"This wasn't a seventh-seeded team," BYU coach Dave Rose said of USD. No, the Toreros didn't play like a seventh seed. And the Cougars didn't play like a third seed.
Yes, it was an abysmal performance by BYU and it was one of those nights where the outcome was all but decided by halftime. Or maybe earlier.
At intermission, USD led by 27 points, 46-19, marking BYU’s lowest first-half scoring output of the season.
Everything went right for USD and nothing went right for BYU. The Toreros (21-13), who beat Portland in the first round Thursday and Santa Clara in the second round Friday, looked comfortable and confident.
The Cougars (19-13) looked out of sync, out of answers.
BYU made 1 of 17 from 3-point territory, a horrific 5.9 percent. It marked the worst 3-point shooting performance in WCC tournament history.
"It’s hard to execute a game plan and stay competitive when you’re a shooting team and you shoot the percentage that we did," Rose said.
"They're a great team lead by seniors," BYU forward Luke Worthington said of USD. "We didn't get off the the start we wanted and they were on attack."
San Diego scored the first 13 points of the game, including three 3-pointers by Isaiah Wright. Meanwhile, the Cougars went scoreless for more than five minutes to start the game.
"We got off to a tough start on both sides," Rose said.
Yoeli Childs finally got BYU on the board at the 14:24 mark and ended up scoring six straight points to make it 13-6. But from there, the Cougars kept digging a bigger and bigger hole. A cavernous hole.
After a Childs dunk, BYU trailed 19-10. Then the Toreros went on an 13-1 run to increase their lead to 32-11.
At halftime, the Cougars were 0 of 6 from the 3-point line, 7 of 14 from the free-throw line and 6 of 24 from the field (25 percent).
USD was 5 of 13 from 3-point range, 9 of 10 from the free-throw line and 16 of 30 from the field (53 percent).
As bad as that was for BYU, things got inordinately worse. After scoring two quick baskets to start the half, the Cougars suffered through multiple empty possessions as San Diego saw its lead balloon to as many as 32.
Childs was whistled with a technical foul with about 12 minutes remaining and he didn’t return. He finished with 14 points.
BYU guard TJ Haws, who scored 61 points, including a career-high 35, against San Diego in their two previous matchups, went 0 of 6 from the floor in the first half. For the night, Haws went 2 of 12 from the field and 0 of 4 from 3-point range and finished with 10 points.
San Diego’s Isaiah Pineiro scored a game-high 27 points, going 8 of 14 from the field and 10 of 10 from the free-throw line. Wright added 15 points and Finn Sullivan came off the bench to score 17.
BYU swept San Diego during the regular season, rallying from a 14-point second-half deficit to win 88-82 in overtime on Feb. 14 at Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Cougars beat the Toreros again a week earlier at the Marriott Center, 87-73, in the regular-season finale.
BYU defeated USD in the conference quarterfinals last season.68 comments on this story
Meanwhile, before the Toreros’ victory against Portland last Thursday in the first round, they hadn’t won a WCC Tournament game since downing BYU in the quarterfinals in 2013.
San Diego faces No. 2 Saint Mary’s in the WCC semifinals Monday night.
In the first quarterfinal game of the night, No. 8 Pepperdine knocked off No. 4 San Francisco, 89-72, and will play No. 1 Gonzaga in the semifinals.
On Feb. 21, USF rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat BYU. The Dons haven't won since, having lost four consecutive games.