Although they didn't shoot particularly well and looked a little ragged at times on offense, the Cougars bounced back Saturday night after that heartbreaker against St. Mary's and rolled past San Diego 74-57 at the Marriott Center in front of 17,281 fans.
It was a good win for BYU, considering that San Diego entered the game 4-0 in WCC play. But the Cougars were not terribly impressive, except for a couple of nice runs in the first half when they pretty much sent the Toreros a message that they can't really consider themselves a WCC contender until they've defeated either Gonzaga, St. Mary's or BYU.
"First off, I am just really happy for our players. I think it was a really hardfought game. Our guys, we were good from the start," said BYU coach Dave Rose, who picked up his 200th career win.
"We had to overcome quite a lot of things. We had some foul trouble, didn't shoot the ball particularly well from the perimeter. But I thought we guarded well, rebounded well. I thought we got a lot of help from a lot of guys.
The fact that you come back from a disappointing loss, and you can snap back and actually get all those things where your guys are laying it out there, it shows these guys really care and they care about each other.
That's a good place for your team to be. I am excited about the win and look forward to a huge challenge next week."
San Diego guards Chris Anderson (13) and Johnny Dee (15) led the Toreros in scoring, but Rose was pleased with the defense his guys played on the duo, except for that stretch just before halftime when Dee made three-straight three-pointers. Credit Brock Zylstra for slowing Dee down most of the rest of the game -- Zylstra and BYU's zone defense.
"They are a good team, but they are really good because of what [Dee] does and how he shoots the ball. I think he is averaging 15 or 16 points a game," Zylstra said. "It was good ... until he hit three right in a row. Then he started feeling good, started to feel it. At the start of the game we were really locked in and forced him to take contested twos."
The bottom, right corner of the stat sheet shows why the Cougars won easily. They outscored USD 32-18 in the paint, scored 17 points off turnovers (to USD's none), and had 11 second-chance points. San Diego had three points off offensive rebounds.
"They're good," said USD coach Bill Grier. "They did a really good job in transition. With the mistakes we made, they scored nearly every time in transition and we just didn't do a very good job on the offensive end. I thought we did well early against their man defense. We were getting good shots and executing. We got off to a great start, but then they went to zone and we didn't do very well."