San Diego • For the first 11 minutes of Thursday's key West Coast Conference basketball game at Jenny Craig Pavilion, San Diego guard Johnny Dee played like the ankle he sprained on Monday was really bothering him.
For the last 29 minutes, he played like it never felt better.
With Dee scoring 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting, the Toreros shook off the Cougars just enough to win 74-78 and send BYU home with its first ever loss against San Diego.
"There weren't a lot of shots tonight where he had a lot of time [to get them off]," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "But he made some big shots."
Dee got rolling with a baseline floater with 8:18 remaining in the first half to tie the game at 20-20 after the Cougars had built a couple of eight-point leads earlier. His three-point play two minutes later gave the Toreros a 28-26 lead, and a wide-open 3-pointer by the sophomore from Vista, Calif., at the end of the first half was a precursor of what was to come.
But his most important shot came after a 9-0 run by BYU had trimmed the USD lead to 64-62. He caught a skip pass over BYU's zone, stepped toward the 3-point line, and, swish.
"We got them into a place where they were on their heels, but then we turned it over a couple of times and Johnny Dee hit a huge shot to beat the shot clock," Rose said.
BYU's Tyler Haws, who led all scorers with 27 points, said the Cougars did a reasonable job controlling USD's other guard, Chris Anderson, Dee doesn't need much room with his quick trigger.
"They made the plays down the stretch to stretch their lead, and win the game," Haws said. "They are a good team, and they have lots of good shooters. You have to give them credit."
While Dee hurt the Cougars in the second half, BYU point guard Matt Carlino struggled after going 4 for 8 for nine points in the first half. Carlino missed all four shots he took in the second half, and didn't score after halftime.
"We got a lot of baskets early [in the game] in transition," Rose said. "We would get to the rim, and then a couple of offensive fouls were called on us that kinda slowed us down as far as our aggressiveness at the point of attack."