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BYU vs San Francisco recap: Cougars fight through struggles to edge out Dons

Coming into tonight, BYU was just behind the San Francisco Dons in the conference standings. So a win was important, but San Francisco wouldn't go down easy.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

First Half

BYU started slow and San Francisco pushed their home court advantage from the start. Tyler Haws, Skyler Halford and Eric Mika struggled to find their shot in the first half. Neither team led by more than three points and momentum never built up in either direction. BYU kept it close and never let San Francisco run away, but had poor shot selection and played just weak enough defense that the Dons led for most of the half. San Francisco's had a great performance from Cole Dickerson in the first half with 15 points to lead USF 37-34 into the half.

Second Half

Coming out in the second half, the Cougars still struggled with their shooting but were able to tighten up on defense a little and were able to push the pace more to their liking. Finally, around the 12 minute mark, BYU started to create some separation with a 6-2 Kyle Collinsworth run and kept it up with a couple of key free throws from Halford and Josh Sharp.

The refs played a big role with their whistles giving four players (2 on either team), four fouls and calling 41 total fouls in the game. Luckily BYU has been practicing their charity shots and hit 76% from the stripe, where they scored 33% of their points. Collinsworth, Halford, Carlino, Haws, and Mika all scored double digits and the Cougars were able to win the turnover margin (8 compared to USF's 15), but struggled in the post. Mika only got 11 points, Nate Austin got zero and BYU was out rebounded 40-28.

Game Notes

Kyle Collinsworth lead the Cougars with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals, but failed to record an assist. Cole Dickerson put in 26 for the Dons along with 14 rebounds. Fittingly the two leaders were at the crux of the final 30 seconds. With 21.1 seconds left and leading by just five, Kyle Collinsworth ripped the ball away from Dickerson who looked to be heading for a dunk. The refs called it a jump ball, which gave BYU the ball out of bounds (but robbed Collinsworth of the stat) and Carlino got fouled on the in-bounds. The Dons continued to foul to stop the clock but weren't able to get enough points of their own, finally giving BYU the 83-76 win.

Be sure to check back here for a preview (and eventual recap) of Saturday night's game against LMU.