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Provo • In the first half of Saturday night's West Coast Conference basketball game at the Marriott Center, the BYU Cougars had seemingly corrected the mistakes that cost them a win two nights ago at San Diego.
They were 12 of 12 from the free-throw line, had committed just three turnovers, and had cruised out to a nine-point halftime lead over San Francisco. It looked like BYU was heading toward another easy league win at home over an overmatched WCC foe not named Gonzaga or Saint Mary's.
The Dons had other ideas.
They shot 72 percent in the second half, while holding the Cougars to 35 percent, and scored 60 points in the final 20 minutes alone to spring the 99-87 upset.
"That's just them. They never give up," said BYU's Brock Zylstra, who led the Cougars with 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting.
"That's coach [Rex] Walters' mentality, and his guys follow exactly how he is. He's a fighter, and all those guys are fighters and never give up. All the games they have lost in conference have been pretty close, and so it is just a credit to them."
BYU coach Dave Rose said he could not remember a better display of shooting in a half by an opponent at the Marriott Center.
"Whatever we did defensively, they kind of had an answer for," Rose said. "They drove us to the rim and scored, they drove us and kicked it and shot 3s and scored. They got to the free-throw line and scored."
After going 11 for 22 from the stripe in the 74-68 loss at San Diego, the Cougars finished 25 of 29 from the line and committed just seven turnovers, but that hardly mattered against the red-hot Dons, whose bench outscored BYU's bench 49-24.
"You definitely have to give them a lot of credit. It has been a while. ... We haven't seen a team come in and shoot like that, especially in a half," said BYU's Brandon Davies. "It is definitely hard to swallow. They were shooting lights-out, and we had a couple letdowns defensively. But they were making shots, and in these [games] just the littlest letdown can turn into disaster."
Dons' 3-point shooters
Player 3pt Pts
Chris Admas 5-6 17
Cody Doolin 2-3 16
Avry Holmes 3-5 17
De'End Parker 3-3 23
Cole Dickerson 1-4 14