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BYU came home after a loss to San Diego on the road, only to suffer its second-straight conference loss, falling to San Francisco 99-87.
The loss was the worst defensive performance of the season for the Cougars, who gave up 60 points in the second half. In comparison, BYU had held six teams to 60 points or fewer in a game this season before the outburst by the Dons.
"I thought they came in with a great game plan, and they deserved to win with how they played," BYU coach Dave Rose said after the game.
San Francisco shot 72 percent in the second half, including 9 of 10 for three-point attempts in the half. The Dons' worst percentage? Uncontested free throws, where they went 15 of 21 in the second half, a 71.4 percent rate.
Had Rose ever seen such a display of accuracy?
"It doesn't come to mind right now," he said.
The Cougars finished the first half up nine with the score at 48-39. They came out of the locker room and increased the lead to 15 before the Dons started knocking down every attempt they took.
"The start of the second half, they hit some tough shots; near the end, they seemed to have pretty open shots," Rose said. "We gave help, and then we couldn't recover fast enough. When we decided to not give help, they just drove right past us. They had an answer for everything we did."
It wasn't for a lack of trying. BYU tried switching defense, subbing in on-ball specialist Anson Winder for man-to-man, but USF guard Cody Doolin was not going to be denied.
Doolin had five assists in the second half, but was unstoppable from the perimeter, penetrating into the defense and kicking out to open teammates. The Dons' only game this week was against the Cougars, and they took advantage of the road-weary legs of the Cougars.
"They were a step quicker than us in the second half, and that may have been because they only had one game this week," Rose said.
Another reason? The Cougars were shooting 50 percent into the second half, but weren't able to keep the momentum going down the stretch, finishing with five field goals on their final 20 attempts.
"We had the momentum in the second half and we let it slip away," Rose said. "There are a lot of different reasons for this. One is the fact that we didn't consistently keep scoring, and they got on a roll."
The deciding stretch of the game was the final 10 minutes of the game. BYU had a six point lead, 66-60, and was trading baskets with USF. Ten minutes later, the Dons had scored 38 points to the Cougars' 22 points, increasing their lead to 16 points.
The BYU players recognized the hot hand by San Francisco after the game.
"They were shooting lights out, and we had a couple letdowns," BYU forward Brandon Davies said. "The littlest letdowns can turn into disasters. They were just lights out."
"You give someone 10 shots, wide-open looks, and I don't know if they could knock down nine of 10," BYU forward Brock Zylstra said. "It was just a shooting exhibition for them."
The Cougars' previous season-worst defensive effort was against Florida State, which scored 88 points during the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
BYU does have a bit of a break to rest and recover after the loss, with its next game against Portland at home next Saturday. The Cougars have a monumental task ahead of them if they want to have the opportunity to reach the NCAA tournament, a challenge Rose recognized.
"Here's a challenge for our guys, and we'll see how we respond."
Dan Lewis covers BYU sports for KSL.com. He is currently attending Brigham Young University, studying communications with an emphasis in multimedia journalism.