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Toreros battle to end in 85-79 loss to BYU
March 3, 2018


USD vs BYU WCC Mar 3 Get Acrobat Reader

LAS VEGAS -- The USD men's basketball team closed out an emotional week with a valiant effort against the BYU Cougars in the quarterfinals of the 2018 WCC Basketball Championships. The Toreros rallied from 17 points down in the second half to tie the score with under four minutes to go but the third seeded Cougars held on for an 85-79 win. Juniors Isaiah Pineiro (21 points) and Olin Carter III (20 points) paced the Toreros while senior Cameron Neubauer turned in a solid effort with 13 points and 6 rebounds.

"I just want to thank two groups of people first," said acting head coach Sam Scholl. "The job that Chris Gerlufsen, Terrence Rencher, Patrick Frost and Lance LaVetter did this week was unbelievable. The talent that is within that group of guys, as coaches, as men, as leaders was just mind blowing. The way they stepped up and the way we all worked together through some difficult times. The next group is our players. All of the emotion we have right now is because of them. What they fought through this week, how they trusted each other. They just locked arms I couldn't be more proud of these players and coaches."

In the first half the Toreros made three early three-pointers in jumping out to an 11-6 lead. Cameron Neubauer, Olin Carter III and Tyler Williams all connected with Williams converting at the 5:13 mark for the early five point cushion. Isaiah Wright would make a long three from the left wing to make it 16-10, and then get fouled attempting a trey and increase the lead to 18-10 inside the 13 minute mark. The Cougars answered with a 9-0 run to take a 19-18 lead with 10:27 left. Isaiah Pineiro ended the scoring drought with a bucket inside off a nice pass from Neubauer.

Juwan Gray and Williams would add back-to-back baskets for a 24-21 lead only to see Elijah Bryant score inside and Yoeli Childs convert two free throws for a 25-24 Cougar edge. Pineiro would cash in on two free throws to give USD a 26-25 lead with 7:56 to go. In a back-and-forth game, Pineiro would connect on a jumper from the left elbow to make it 30-29 in favor of the Toreros. The game would be tied at 31-all at the four minute media timeout. BYU added two free throws and a bucket to edge ahead 35-31 forcing the Toreros into a timeout. Wright cut through the lane for a lay-in to make it 35-33 just inside the two minute mark. BYU would take a 39-35 intermisson lead with Bryant (12 points) and Childs (10) leading the way; USD was paced by Pineiro (8 points) and Wright (7).

After the break BYU extended their lead to 43-37 before Neubauer connected on a three-pointer at the 18:04 mark. The Cougars answered with a 6-0 run capped off by a jumper from TJ Haws to make it 49-40. Carter nailed a long three from the right only to see Brown answer at the other end of the floor to make it 52-43. A Childs jumper gave the Cougars a double-digit lead at 54-43 and two threes from Bryant made it 60-43 with 11:42 to go. Two Pineiro free throws ended BYU's 11-0 run on the Toreros and a Neubauer three pulled USD to within 60-48. Baskets from Pineiro and Wright got USD to within ten at 62-52 with 10 minutes left.

With 6:30 left in the game the Toreros trailed 71-59 and USD responded with a 12-0 run over the next three minutes to knot the score at 71-all. Wright made two free throws, Carter hit a three, Pineiro hit two free throws, Carter converted a lay-in and then capped off the run with another trey. BYU would edge ahead by six and USD would get within three on two more occasions but were not able to get over the hump.

Added Scholl, "At the end of the day they just beat us. We fought our hearts out. Our guys showed us their resolve. We got it down from 17 points to tie the game. They just made a couple more plays and beat us."

For the game there were 11 lead changes. USD converted 10-of-27 three-pointers and were solid from the free throw line making 25-of-32. The Toreros also held the rebounding edge at 31-27. BYU was paced by Elijah Bryant (27 points) and Yoeli Childs (22 points). Isaiah Wright was USD's fourth player in double-digit scoring with 12 points.

USD will now await word if they are invited to one of the post-season tournaments.



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