"Tonight they (San Diego) were good," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "There are a lot of issues for us that we need to correct but you have to give credit to San Diego for the plays, the big plays, they made to hold us back. We got into trouble at the start of the second half but tried to make a comeback. Playing from behind, you can't make the mistakes we made."
BYU (18-7, 8-3) dropped its second conference match on the road as San Diego (13-12, 6-4) won its ninth home game of the season.
Early in the game, Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws traded baskets back and forth to give BYU a 12-8 lead. Maintaining a fast pace, BYU began to pull away early in the first half going on an 8-2 run. Carlino stole the ball in the backcourt and sent a transition pass to Haws who slammed home a dunk to extend the Cougars’ lead to 18-10 with 12:07 remaining in the first half.
San Diego battled back going on a 10-2 run capped by a Johnny Dee baseline jumper to tie the score at 20 apiece. Haws answered back for the Cougars to end the run with a big 3-pointer to extend the BYU lead to 23-20 with 8:09 remaining in the first half.
Both teams continued to trade points back and forth late in the first half. Ambrosino hit a three from the left arc to put BYU up by one, 32-31 with 3:20 remaining in the first half, before Dennis Kramer answered with back-to-back jumpers to extend the Toreros lead to 35-32.
San Diego finished the half with a 40-36 lead after Chris Manresa converted a layup with 33 seconds remaining.
In the second half, Brandon Davies came out strong stuffing a big dunk with 17:03 remaining to bring the Cougars within five, down 46-41. San Diego continued its strong offensive play piecing together a 7-1 run capped off by a Jito Kok jumper go up by 11, 53-42, the largest lead of the game for the Toreros.
BYU battled back as Davies went to work one-on-one with Kramer, scoring eight-straight points to bring the Cougars within three, down 56-53 with just over nine minutes remaining in regulation.
Down by seven, Haws began to take over for the Cougars, keeping them within striking distance with back-to-back layups. Haws hit two free throws at the 3:32 mark to bring the Cougars within 3 at 67-64, but the Cougars couldn’t generate enough offense down the stretch. Dee hit three free throws late in the game to all but end BYU’s comeback hopes and seal the victory for the Toreros.
BYU returns home on Saturday hosting San Francisco at 7 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center.