PROVO, UT -- The USD Toreros battled the BYU Cougars tough but came up short in the end, falling 82-70 at the Marriott Center. The Toreros were paced by Brett Bailey and Olin Carter III, each with 21 points. Carter would add 8 assists while Bailey would pull down 7 boards. BYU received a game-high 26 points from Nick Emery and 15 points & 10 rebounds from center Eric Mika.
"I'm proud of our guys," said head coach Lamont Smith. "We fought hard in a hostile environment. BYU had some runs and we need to prevent those moving foward. We are going to keep fighting and continue improve. We are now going to head to Santa Clara and battle again on Saturday."
In the first half Olin Carter III scored seven early points, making his first three attempts, as the Toreros jumped out to a 9-5 lead by the first media timeout at 15:47. A Brett Bailey tip-in bucket would make it 11-8, but Nick Emery would answer with a three-ball from the left wing to knot the score at 11-all with 13:10 to go. Four straight BYU buckets, two by Yoeli Childs, would give the Cougars a 19-11 edge. Nassir Barrino would end the 8-0 run with a lay-in only to see Emery connect on his second trey to make it 22-13. In extending their lead to 26-15 at the 7:49 mark, the Cougars were on a stretch of making eight straight baskets.
Coming out of the 8-minute media, Emery would make three more threes and assist on a Childs dunk to make it 12 straight makes and a commanding 37-19 advantage. Cameron Neubauer would connect on a three-pointer, but Eric Mika would make it 13 straight makes with a bucket inside. Carter would answer with his second trey; BYU's streak of 13 straight would finally end with a miss from the corner by Davin Guinn, and Neubauer would knock down his second straight three-pointer to make it 39-28 with 4:27 to go. A reverse lay-in and free throw from Bailey would cut it to 41-31, and a driving lay-in by Barrino would get the deficit back to single digits at 41-33 with 3:19 to go. Bailey would connect on a pull-up jumper on the right baseline to make it 41-35. Tyler Williams would connect on a three-ball from the top of the key to pull within 42-38. Following a Torero turnover, BYU would get the ball back with 4.7 ticks and TJ Haws would bomb in a three to beat the buzzer and make the halftime score 45-38. USD would shoot 51.7% from the field (15-29) and connect on 6-of-12 threes. BYU's Nick Emery would lead all scorers at the break with 17 points on the strength of making all five of his three-point attempts.
In the second half Emery would open with 5 straight points to help the Cougars to a 50-38 lead, but Bailey would knock down a three from the top. Behind a 4-point stretch from Haws, BYU would go up 56-43 with just under 14 minutes to go. Bailey would cash in on another old-fashioned three-point play to make it 56-46, and a Carter trey would get it back to single digits at 58-49. Over the next four minutes BYU would go on a 9-0 run before Juwan Gray buried a three from the right corner to make it 67-52 with 8:26 left.
Over the final eight minutes USD would close to within 12 points at 75-63 with 3:29 to go following four straight made free throws from Olin Carter III. Jose' Martinez would come in off the bench to bury a three-pointer to make it 77-66 with 2:35 to go. Martinez would add a bucket inside, and following a steal, Bailey would add a dunk for the final 82-70 score.
Up next for the Toreros (11-16, 4-11 WCC) is Santa Clara (15-13, 9-6 WCC) this Saturday, Feb. 18th. Game time at the Leavey Center is 8:00 pm.
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