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San Diego • As his point-blank, potentially game-tying shot rolled off the rim and into the hands of San Diego's Thomas Jacobs on Saturday afternoon with less than three seconds remaining, Kyle Collinsworth fell to the floor and momentarily put his head in his hands, then slapped the playing surface in disgust.

Collinsworth could probably sense that the Cougars' hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament are heading in the same direction as well. Barring a miracle, bubble-sitting BYU appears destined for the NIT now, after San Diego took a 77-74 win in front of 2,463 fans on a beautiful day in Southern California.

In postseason vernacular, this was not just a bad loss for BYU — it was a devastating one.

While the Cougars dropped to 5-4 in West Coast Conference play, 15-7 overall, the win still didn't push the Toreros' record to .500. They are 3-6 in league, 10-11 overall, and beat the Cougars for the second time in three years here at Jenny Craig Pavilion, which had as many BYU fans as USD fans with school still not in session.

The Cougars blew a nine-point second-half lead and gave up easy shot after easy shot inside to the Toreros, arguably the league's worst offensive team.

"They just played harder than us," said BYU guard Tyler Haws, who led all scorers with 20 points but was just 5 of 13 from the field. "This one hurts, because we knew we needed that game. We should have won. But they just wanted it more, and they played harder on the glass."

Indeed, San Diego won because it turned 13 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points and continually got to the free-throw line by dumping the ball inside. The Toreros made 12 of 15 free-throws down the stretch after missing nine of their first 17 free throws.

They made them when they had to.

"I thought defensively we had a good game plan, but there were so many times where there was miscommunication and they ended up with shots right at the basket, which allowed them to stay close and stay enthused," BYU coach Dave Rose said.

Every time it appeared BYU was going to stretch its lead, senior guard Johnny Dee came up with a big 3-pointer, including his fourth with 6:35 remaining that trimmed BYU's lead to 61-57. He finished with 18.

On the other end, BYU's Chase Fischer collided with USD's Marcus Harris, then threw his arms up into Harris' face. After reviewing the play, officials assessed Fischer with a flagrant 1 category foul. Harris made the two free throws, and Thomas Jacobs (19 points off the bench) added a dunk.

Suddenly, it was tied at 61-61 — BYU's 50-41 lead having completely evaporated.

Energized by sudden change, San Diego rolled out to a 71-64 lead with just under two minutes left. But BYU rallied and got within one, 71-70, when Collinsworth rebounded his own miss and scored with 37 seconds left.

Jacobs missed one of two free throws with 10.3 seconds left, and the plan was for Collinsworth to get to the rim. He did, but shot as he was bracing for contact and missed the bunny.

"We got in a really bad spot, and the guys battled through it," Rose said. "We got a break or two there where we actually got a shot to tie it."

Collinsworth started slowly, but finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. He had just three assists as the Cougars struggled to make outside shots.

They were just 3 of 15 from 3-point range, and 0 of 6 from beyond the arc in the second half. Fischer, his left thumb taped after spraining it in practice Thursday, was 0 for 3 from downtown.

"You go 3 for 15 from three, that's been kind of a recipe for disaster for us," Rose said. "We've got to figure out the nights that it isn't happening for us and how we can still get in there and score."

Having gone 1-2 on the road the past two weeks, the Cougars return home for two games, hosting San Francisco on Thursday and Santa Clara on Saturday.

"There is still a lot of fight in this team, it is just that right now we are not clicking like we were earlier," Rose said.

Twitter: @drewjay —


• The Cougars suffer their second straight road loss, falling to a San Diego team that was 2-6 in West Coast Conference play before Saturday.

• BYU blows a nine-point second-half lead and drops to 5-4 in WCC play, 15-7 overall.

• The Toreros score 16 second-chance points and get 46 points from their bench in the upset win.