Toreros Emotional Week Ends With Loss

USD falls to BYU in West Coast Conference Tournament

A trying, emotional week came to a disappointing end for the USD men’s basketball team.

The Toreros overcame a 17-point, 2nd-half deficit to tie BYU but ran out of steam in an 85-79 loss, knocking them out of the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas. San Diego finishes the season at 18-13 and will wait to see if they get an invitation to a post-season tournament.

USD found out last Sunday that their head coach, Lamont Smith, had been arrested for domestic violence after a win over San Francisco State. Smith was placed on administrative leave while assistant Sam Scholl tool over as acting head coach for the remainder of the season.

Scholl spent a lot of his week answering questions for his players and trying to get them physically and mentally ready to make a post-season run. To the team’s credit they got off to a great start.

The Toreros led for most of the first half, shooting 54% from the floor. But they ran cold after the break and fell behind in a big way. A 17-3 Cougars run put them behind 60-43 with just under 12 minutes to play. Given the emotional week they had nobody would blame the Toreros if they couldn’t find the energy to get back into it.

But this team was not going out like that.

USD went on a run of its own and when Olin Carter III dropped in a 3-pointer with 3:28 to play the game was tied 71-71. Carter had 20 points while Isaiah Pineiro added 21 points and eight rebounds. But they weren’t able to take the lead back.

As a team BYU made eight straight free throws to pull away. The Toreros will have to see if they did enough to earn a spot in the NIT, CBI, or CIT tournaments.

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