San Diego’s Defense Clamps Down on BYU


Great offense was defeated by great defense on Saturday as the San Diego Toreros held on to defeat the BYU Cougars in a game at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros have struggled offensively throughout conference play, but they were able to hold the normally high-powered Cougars in check and do just enough to hold on for a 77-74 victory.

Feb 6, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Toreros forward Thomas Jacobs (15) dunks the ball during the second half against the San Francisco Dons at Jenny Craig Pavillion. The Dons won 74-67. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Cougars entered the game as the nation’s top scoring team at 86.5 points per game. The Toreros are on the opposite end of the spectrum as they are currently last in the WCC in both field goal and three point shooting. On the flipside however, the Toreros have the #3 scoring defense in the WCC compared to the Cougars who are last in that category.

Both teamed had streaky offense throughout the game, which played well for San Diego. The Toreros put up their highest point total in conference play, and they jumped out to an early lead. The Cougars got hot and came back to extend their lead to as many as eight in the first half. They would lead until late in the second half when the Toreros used a 7-0 run to cut the gap with 6:50 left.

The Toreros have been infamous for having trouble closing out games, and they nearly failed again. They built a 71-64 lead in the final minutes, but the Cougars nearly shot their way back into it before the Toreros used free throws to hold for the 77-74 victory. This was by far the most impressive final minutes of a game the Toreros have played all season. Even against an average opponent their effort would have been very impressive, but against the dangerous offense of the Cougars it was even more notable.

The lack of a strong inside presence continues to haunt the Cougars as they allowed Thomas Jacobs to have a big night for the Toreros. Jacobs was dominant inside putting up 19 points and 13 rebounds. Johnny Dee was the other Torero in double figures with 18 points. Freshman Vasa Pusica had what could be a breakout game with 9 points.

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Three Cougars reached double figures led by Tyler Haws who had a game-high 20 points. The Cougars were their own worst enemy at times as their normally potent long range shooting was ineffective against the San Diego defense. They went just 3-15 from three point range including going 0-6 in the second half.

San Diego improves 10-11 overall and 3-6 in WCC play with the win. They snap a three game losing streak. Perhaps this marquee win will be a turning point for their recent struggles. The win marks their first victory over BYU since the 2012-13 season when they beat the Cougars twice including during the WCC Tournament.

BYU falls to 15-7 overall and 5-4 in WCC play with the loss. They have lost two in a row and three of their last five. This is their second worst point total of the season. They have put up 61 points twice, both losses.

The Cougars return home for upcoming games against San Francisco and Santa Clara. San Diego continues the current homestand with games against the same two teams.