San Francisco • The last time BYU played against San Francisco, the Dons came back from a 14-point deficit to beat the Cougars in the Marriott Center. Lo and behold, BYU found itself in the same situation against the Dons here at War Memorial Gymnasium.
And wound up with the same ending.
San Francisco edged BYU 83-82, marking the Cougars’ third consecutive loss to the Dons.
Following the defeat, senior forward Yoeli Childs said the mood in the locker room was not good, "as you can imagine.”
He added: “We just got smacked, we couldn’t keep the ball up front."
BYU coach Mark Pope took the loss personally, taking responsibility for the way the team played during USF’s second-half comeback. The Cougars were unable to respond and Pope said he didn’t adjust – something he hopes to fix.
BYU will face USF at home in two weeks, and Pope hopes the team is able to fix the defensive problems by then.
“It starts with me — it’s my problem,” Pope said. “I mean, what a disastrous coaching job tonight. You let a player go 10 for 10 and 6 for 6 and don’t adjust and don’t fix it — that’s inexcusable. And it wasn’t out of any actions or any sets, it was just … I let San Francisco play in isolation all night long and that’s really embarrassing.”
After BYU led by as many as 11 points toward the end of the first half, the Dons put their then-largest run of the game, 9-0, together to cut the deficit down to 2. However, the Cougars went on to score five unanswered points in the final minute to lead 45-38 at halftime.
The Cougars scored four more points to open up the second half, and shortly after had their largest lead of the game (14), but then wouldn't score again for nearly seven minutes.
During that time, USF put together a monster 21-0 spurt while BYU was 0 of 7 and had four turnovers.
“A few guys got hot and kept going and our defense was slacking there as the game went on,” Alex Barcello said. “Obviously, we didn’t expect [Khalil] Shabazz to have  points, but we should have done better as a team on defense and we’re just going to go back home, flip the page and continue to get better.”
SAN FRANCISCO 83, BYU 82
• San Francisco recovers from 14-point second-half deficit to beat BYU for the third consecutive time.
• Cougars were held scoreless for seven minutes while the Dons put together a 21-0 run to regain the lead
• TJ Haws scores a team-high 20 points as the senior breaks into the Top 10 All-Time scoring list and sets new record for most consecutive starts at 123
Barcello ended the Cougars’ drought with a 3-pointer, followed up by a TJ Haws jumper, but the Dons’ ridiculous run continued — outscoring BYU 32-5 before the Cougars rediscovered their bearings.
BYU recovered enough to get within two points with just under a minute left, the Cougars were unable to close out the game. Jake Toolson’s 3-pointer at the final buzzer wasn’t enough.
“It felt good, just knowing that this team never gives up,” Barcello said. “We didn’t lose hope — we kept battling until the final buzzer.”
In the final seconds, BYU missed two free throws. The first was came when Childs went to the line for a 1 and 1, down 79-77 with 17.6 seconds left. The next was the first of three attempts from Haws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.
Childs, who finished with 19 points on 8 of 17 shooting, believed his missed free throw could have provided some game-changing momentum.
“We would have gone to overtime and win the game,” Childs said, wishfully.
Haws set a new BYU record for consecutive games started at 123. The senior guard has played in and started every game since his freshman season.
Haws also broke into BYU’s Top 10 All-Time in scoring, adding a team-best 20 points on Saturday for a career 1,753 points, passing Mekeli Wesley.