San Francisco vs BYU game recap: Cougars outlast Dons 68-63 in battle for 2nd place

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Behind big men Austin and Mika, BYU out rebounds the Dons 47-29 and holds on for victory.

On a night where Tyler Haws struggled to score and the team hit less than 50 percent of its free throws, the BYU Cougars found a way to win. On a night where they failed to score 70 points and only made 28 percent of their 3 point shots, the BYU Cougars found a way to win. Finally, on a night when the opposing team found a way to control tempo and keep the Cougars in a half court game, the BYU Cougars found a way to win.

Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth paced the Cougars with 19 points a piece. They overcame an amazing performance off the bench by the Dons Tim Derksen who led the USF with 17 points while only missing one shot. The Cougars were led by their 2 big men that dominated the paint all night long on both ends of the floor.

Nate Austin and Eric Mika grabbed as many rebounds as the entire San Francisco Dons team. They controlled the glass against the Dons as they simply had no answer for the big men duo. It was an impressive display of toughness on a night where the shots weren't falling and the fast break opportunities were few and far between. This is the kind of win BYU will have to get should they find a way to play relevant basketball the end of March. I think we may look back on this win as the night the light finally came on for the two young big men.

Things will only get tougher for the Cougars as they return to California next week for critical match-ups against St. Mary's and Pacific. This game was huge as it proved BYU can win a half court game and provided the recipe to see it through. As we move toward the showdown with Gonzaga it is great to see this team continuing to get better and find new ways to win critical league games.

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