Amazing USF shooting display in second half buries BYU as Dons win, 99-87
With 11:47 remaining in Saturday's BYU-San Francisco game, Tyler Haws hit a pair of free throws to give the Cougars a 66-54 lead. After an exchange of turnovers, USF's De'End Parker, who did not play when the Cougars beat the Dons 80-76 back on Dec. 5, drained a three-pointer. After another BYU turnover, Parker hit another big three, and the big comeback was on, eventually resulting in a 99-87 victory for the Dons in front of 15,477 at the Marriott Center. Amazingly, San Francisco missed only one field goal attempt a jumper by Chris Adams with 3:31 remaining in the final 14 minutes of the game. Prior to Parker's three-pointers that turned the game around BYU coach Dave Rose said he has simply never seen anything quite like the shooting display the Dons put on, as the largest crowd the Dons have played in front of all season sat in quiet disbelief. It was the second time this season the Cougars have lost back-to-back games, and only the eighth time it has happened in Rose's eight-year tenure. Here's Rose's opening comment to the media in his postgame news conference: "I thought that San Francisco played a great second half, and we had a difficult time containing the ball in whatever defense we were in. They drove us pretty good, and kicked it to their open shooters, and they really got on a roll there in the second half. We had a hard time matching it, and lost the momentum, and they just didn't let up. Whatever we did defensively, they kind of had an answer for. They drove us to the rim and scored, they drove us and kicked it and shot threes and scored. They got to the free-throw line and scored. They came here and scored 99 points, and in order to win a game like that we have to be a lot better offensively. But I don't think our issues ... welll they are probably on both ends of the floor, but defensively is where we will have to address them the most. I thought that they came in with a great game plan and deserved to win, with how they played. So we will get ready for next week and go back to work." All told, the Dons shot 57.1 percent in the game and 72.0 percent in the second half. The big stat was that USF was 9 for 10 from three-point range in the second half. "Wow," Rose said when I asked him if he can ever recall a team shooting so well in the Marriott Center. "It doesn't come to mind right now. But at the start of the second half, I thought a couple of those shots were pretty tough shots. At the end, they seemed to be pretty open shots. We gave help and then we weren't quick enough back to the shooters. Then the times we decided not to give help they just drove us right to the basket and scored. So they had an answer for everything we did."Rose said that the Dons rolled into the MC with confidence, and fresh legs, having not played since last Saturday. Parker, who went 8-for-11 for 23 points, was obviously better than the Cougars thought he was. "They probably felt like they let one get away when we beat them over there," Rose said. "And our guys felt like we had really played well and finished the game. But it is a long season and you have got to be able to deal with all the challenges of a season. And here's a challenge for our guys. We will see how they respond." Somebody asked Rose about how USF defended Tyler Haws, and whether the physical style of play on the Cougars' leading scorer took its toll on him and how the staff will coach him moving forward. "We will show [Tyler] a lot of what teams are doing to try to counter what he's been doing to them. He's a great offensive talent. I think that he could probably use a little bit of physical rest, and then some mental coaching with our guys this week, and get ready for Saturday. But he is obviously the No. 1 target on the scouting report, as far as other teams trying to take away what he does well," Rose said. It was suggested that BYU looked tired in the second half. "I dunno. They were a step quicker than we were in the second half. That might have been [attributed to] the fact that they didn't play this week," Rose said. "This was their only game. We had the momentum there in the second half, and we kinda let it slip away. There were a lot of different reasons for that. One was that we didn't consistently keep scoring, and they got on a roll, and it kinda shifted quick." Here's what USF coach Rex Walters said about his team's phenomenal second half: "This is a really tough place to play. BYU is a really good team and Dave does a really good job. Having to play two games in three nights is hard. We didn't play this week and we had more time to prepare. Our guys did a great job defensively in the second half, really trying to make them work for everything. Then we just tried to spread them out, and we were making shots. The bottom line is, we spread them out, we found the open man and even late in the shot clock we were able to get quality looks. We were patient enough and tough enough to do that and weather the storm to get a good shot."