It's never a pleasant experience to interview a college athlete after a loss.
BYU's Tyler Haws was especially despondent after the Cougars' 74-68 loss at San Diego on Thursday night. Same goes for Brandon Davies.
But both guys came out of the locker room to chat with reporters in the bowels of Jenny Craig Pavilion, even as some dude wearing a coat and tie shouted at Haws in sort of a mocking tone from down the hallway a good 30 feet: "Good game, Haws."
"Thanks," Haws shouted back, a tad puzzled, but as polite as always.
Indeed, his 10-for-17 shooting performance for 27 points was good. And he took the blame for bumping into Matt Carlino to cause that turnover on BYU's last possession, even though it seemed like both guard were equally to blame.
He was right when he said that "miscommunication" didn't cost the Cougars the game. Poor rebounding, poor free-throw shooting, leaky defense, the inability to finish, and boneheaded turnovers did.
Also, it should be mentioned that San Diego is better than its 13-12 record indicates, especially at home. The Toreros are going to give Saint Mary's a good tussle, perhaps a loss, on Saturday night at the Slim Gym, which actually resembles an Olive Garden restaurant, as someone on my timeline tweeted Thursday night.
San Diego puts reporters at the baseline near the visiting team's bench (in front of the band, which isn't actually a true student band, but a bunch of folks in their 30s and 40s, at least, including the band leader who was the first to shout "Honor Code, Honor Code" whenever Davies was at the free-throw line, or within earshot).
But I digress.
Reason I mention that is because it really gives one a good perspective on how hard the players are competing underneath the basktt, from both sides. These guys gave it their all.
And some credit should go to BYU backup Nate Austin, who was derided most of the game by the vocal-but-small San Diego student section. He didn't back down in the face of their wrath, but perhaps it is time coaches curtailed his three-point shooting. It hasn't been good lately.
Question now is, can the Cougars bounce back against a San Francisco team that had the midweek bye and should be well-rested?
"We never let one loss turn into two. We got a lot of work we need to do. We have another game this week and a big week coming up after that. We just got to get ourselves mentally and physically ready for that," Davies said.
A few more comments from the big guy:
On what went wrong:
"It is hard to put a finger on it. We just got to find ways to do a little more individually and get a little better."
On his first-half foul trouble:
"I had to sit early, when I picked up that second foul. I felt like we battled through it all right. We just got to find a way to stay aggressive."
On BYU being out-rebounded:
"They beat us in almost every category in that first half. That kind of hurt us. We had to come out and be the aggressor."
On USD's Johnny Dee:
"He's a great player. You gotta be aware of where he is at everywhere on the floor. It is hard to get him stopped when you lose him, and then that creates openings for other guys on his team."
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