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PROVO — BYU held on for the win against West Coast Conference opponent San Francisco, 78-74, Thursday night at the Marriott Center.
The Cougars struggled with their shot all night, hitting only 40 percent from the field and 15 percent from the 3-point line.
The last matchup between these two teams resulted in a 99-68 win for the Cougars, but Thursday night was a different story. BYU held a steady lead throughout the game but couldn’t seem to pull away.
However, after recently losing some close games, BYU will take the win.
“It seems like we have had a few close games this year that have gone the other way so it is nice that when we aren’t shooting the ball so well that we are able to get a grinded-out win like that,” BYU guard Tyler Haws said. “I am proud of all our guys; we just kept fighting all the way to the end.”
It seems like we have had a few close games this year that have gone the other way so it is nice that when we aren't shooting the ball so well that we are able to get a grinded-out win like that. I am proud of all our guys; we just kept fighting all the way to the end.
Cougar sharpshooters such as Chase Fischer and Haws struggled. Fischer only shot 1-of-8 from the 3-point line with Haws going 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. However, Haws realizes that his team has to figure out ways to overcome off-shooting nights.
“We just try to be aggressive; we got to the foul line a little bit in the second half when we were in the bonus,” Haws said. “You just have to play and attack and try to get to the rim and find other ways to score.”
Forcing San Francisco to turn the ball over was one way BYU made up for its poor shooting. The Dons committed 17 turnovers resulting in 27 BYU points.
“We were good defensively,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “We forced turnovers quite a few times, which led to nine or 10 more shots on the night, which we needed because we were having a hard time with shots falling, especially our 3. I told the guys that the fact that we finally (won) one of these games where we don’t get the 3 to fall for us very much, but we found another way to win is a good thing and we will take it.”
BYU also made a change to the starting lineup in hopes of a stronger inside presence. Corbin Kaufusi started in place of Luke Worthington, and Kaufusi added five points and five rebounds before fouling out.
“We are at the end of January and are still trying to find ourselves; it’s a work in progress,” Rose said. “But we got a lot of great minutes from a lot of guys. Corbin gave us great minutes in his new role ... Rebounding is such a big part of what we have to do when we are playing a smaller lineup and I thought Corbin the past three or four games has really been active and we just wanted to get a different look and see how it would go.”
Haws led the Cougars with 28 points, leaving him only two points behind Danny Ainge on BYU’s all-time scoring list. Once Haws passes Ainge, he will only be trailing Jimmer Fredette.
Behind Haws, Anson Winder chipped in with 11 points. Mark Tollefsen led four Dons to score in double figures with 22 points.
BYU will look to keep the momentum going Saturday at home against Santa Clara. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Lindsey Peterson is a Brigham Young University student studying Broadcast Journalism. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @LindsPetey