LAS VEGAS (ABC4 Sports) – BYU isn’t ready to leave Las Vegas just yet.
Elijah Bryant scored 27 points on 10 of 13 shooting, while Yoeli Childs added 22, as the Cougars held off San Diego in the West Coast Tournament semifinals, 85-79.
The Cougars advance to the semifinals on Monday against either Pepperdine or St. Mary’s.
“They played a great game of togetherness and toughness today,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “They did a great job of fighting mentally and executing down the stretch. These guys are engaged and they want it and I’m proud of them.”
TJ Haws had 13 points and three assists, while McKay Cannon came off the bench to lead the Cougars with five assists.
The Toreros started the game with consecutive 3-pointers to take an early 6-2 lead. After a jumper by Childs, San Diego extended its lead to 11-6 with 15:13 on the clock.
BYU went on a 9-0 run with 10:28 remaining and was led by Bryant, who scored six points in the streak. The Toreros ended the run with a basket of their own but were unable to slow down Bryant who scored once again on the other end of the court, giving the Cougars a 21-20 lead.
A steal by Cannon led to a basket by Nixon to tie the game at 31-all with 4:40 remaining on the clock and was the start of a 6-0 run.
In the final minute of the first half, Childs grabbed a steal and finished with a dunk to give BYU a 39-35 lead at halftime.
After one half, the Cougars shot 48.3 percent from the field and held San Diego to 39.1 percent. Despite BYU being on top at halftime, the lead changed 11 times in the first half.
The second half started with a 10-5 run for the Cougars, including six points by Bryant, to give BYU a 49-40 lead with 16:30 on the clock.
A Torero basket from beyond the arc snapped a 6-0 run by the Cougars but was quickly answered on the other end of the court with a trey by Bryant, keeping the lead at nine-points and starting another run by BYU.
Childs hit a jumper and was followed by back-to-back 3-pointers by Bryant, extending the run to 11 points and the lead to a game-high 17 points at 60-43 with 11:42 remaining in the game.
San Diego went on a 12-0 run to tie the game at 71-all with under four minutes to go. Luke Worthington’s pair of free-throws ended the run and put BYU back on top.
In the final minute of the game, free-throws by Haws and Jahsire Hardnett gave the Cougars a six-point lead, 79-73, respectively. The Toreros converted on a 3-point play to make it a one-possession game.
In the final seconds, Childs finished a pair of free-throws and slammed home a dunk to secure the 85-79 win over San Diego.
At the end of the game, BYU shot 51.8 percent from the field, 27.3 percent from the three and 75.0 percent from the line. The Toreros shot 46.8 percent from the field, 37.0 percent from beyond the arc and 78.1 percent from the charity stripe. Defensively, the Cougars forced 14 turnovers.
BYU will play the winner of Saint Mary’s and Pepperdine in the semifinals on Monday, March 5. Game time will be announced following tonight’s quarterfinal games.