BYU Defeats San Diego 78-70 to Lock Up Second Place in WCC

Kyle Collinsworth (5) and Tyler Haws (3). - Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

BYU, 21-10 (13-5), enters the post-season on a four game winning streak.

At the start of the game the Cougars looked ready to lock up the two seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament. Their high scoring offense was on display from the get go, reaching ten points in just over four minutes of play. San Diego actually got two ten one possession sooner than BYU, but the Toreros were unable to keep up with the Cougars forever.

After taking a 12-11 lead, the Toreros fell flat but the Cougars kept on going. A 9-0 run made it 20-12. The BYU lead quickly grew to 25-13. With five minutes remaining in the half the lead reached its largest point of the game, 35-19.

Duda Sanadze went out of the game with 7:59 left in the half with what appeared to be a foot injury. It would be diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. He scored six points in his ten minutes of play.

As a team BYU connected on 65.4% of its shots in the first half. Tyler Haws led the way with 13 points and Anson Winder chipped in 11. However, the lead at the break was just 41-33. The Cougars' defense, an weak point all season long, was stout for the majority of the half. San Diego shot just 33.3% from the field in the first twenty minutes.

Twelve first half turnovers kept the Cougars lead smaller than it should have been. Those turnovers allowed the ineffective San Diego offense just enough chances to keep the game from getting out of control.

The Toreros opened the second half scoring at the same rate as BYU. Just after the 15 minute mark Christopher Anderson hit a three, he connected on six in the game, to cut the lead to one. Two and a half minutes later Johnny Dee hit two free throws to tie it up at 47.

In the middle of the second half the game returned to the back and forth style that dominated the early going. Brett Bailey hit a three to give the Toreros a 50-47 lead. It was reclaimed by BYU on the next possession. Matt Carlino hit a three then Nate Austin was fouled. He hit both free throws to compete a five point play of sorts.

Then, not often flashy Tyler Haws slam dunked a Johnny Dee turnover. It looked as if the the Cougars would regain control.

Instead, Christopher Anderson took over. We connected on back-to-back threes, just 30 seconds apart, to bring the lead back to the home team with 9:24 left.

As was the case in the first half, the Toreros were unable to keep up with the Cougars. By the final minute BYU had run the lead back to double figures.

Tyler Haws finished with the game high of 25 points. Nate Austin fell one point shy of a double-double with nine points and ten rebounds.

For the Toreros, Chirstopher Anderson totaled 22 points and Jito Kok had a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds. Johnny Dee finished with 12 points, well below his average of 17 ppg, but missed six of his eight three point attempts.

With the win the Cougars lock up the two seed in the WCC Tournament for the first time. They finished third in both previous seasons. The top two seeds, Gonzaga is number one, are now set. The remainder will be determined over the course of the final four games of conference play, all of which happen tonight.

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