San Diego • February has not been kind to BYU’s 3-point shooters.
The Cougars were able to overcome miserable 3-point shooting to beat San Francisco and Pepperdine in overtime and give Gonzaga a decent game on the road two weeks ago, but lousy accuracy from beyond the arc caught up to them on a sunny afternoon in beautiful San Diego on Saturday.
The Cougars missed 19 of the 22 long balls they shot, and suffered a deflating 75-62 loss to the defensive-minded Toreros at Jenny Craig Pavilion. Meanwhile, USD made 9 triples on 21 attempts.
San Diego is one of the better teams at defending the 3-point line in the country, but the Cougars largely have to blame themselves for the shooting woes, coach Dave Rose said.
“We had open shots tonight. They were good looks. Maybe you just shoot them a little quicker than normal. I think that right now we just need to get more confidence and make those,” Rose said. “And then when you are behind, you are trying to make up points. Sometimes that makes you get a little bit quick in your decisions, to shoot a 3. But we are better than 3 of 22.”
BYU’s frosty 3-point shooting in February
(30 of 119 for 25 percent)
Feb. 17 at San Diego: 3 of 22
Feb. 15 at Pepperdine: 6 of 19
Feb. 10 vs. San Francisco: 7 of 19
Feb. 8 vs. Santa Clara: 6 of 15
Feb. 3 at Gonzaga: 3 of 20
Feb. 1 at Loyola Marymount: 5 of 24
The Cougars entered the game shooting 36 percent from deep. Then they went 1 of 13 in the first half, 2 of 9 in the second. Sophomore guard TJ Haws, who was 0 of 2 from long range, said he can’t put a finger on why the shots have stopped falling in Feburary.
“I wish I knew,” he said. “I know we have great shooters, and so we are just going to keep having that shooters’ mentality, and keep having confidence in each other, and shooting open, good looks.”
Elijah Bryant was 1 of 5, Jahshire Hardnett was 0 of 2 and Rylan Bergersen, Zac Seljaas, McKay Cannon and Dalton Nixon all missed the only triples they tried. Some weren’t even close.
“We just couldn’t really get into our groove,” Seljaas said. “We were kinda one step behind and just not able to make that movement. When shots aren’t falling, it is a downer to your mentality. You want to have that confidence that they will go in. We just didn’t have that tonight.”
Meanwhile, the Toreros made theirs, several of which came with the shot clock winding down, like an especially long one by Isaiah Pineiro. That, or they were bailed out attempting them. Twice BYU was called for fouling the 3-point shooter.
The Toreros won even though starter Juwan Gray was assessed a flagrant 2 foul for throwing a vicious elbow at Dalton Nixon’s head and ejected in the first half.
“We just have to come out tougher and punch them in the mouth right from the start,” Haws said. “They did that to us and they got it going.”