After an emotional week where USD men’s basketball coach Lamont Smith was arrest and charged with domestic violence, the Toreros lost 85-79 to the Cougars in the quarterfinals of the 2018 WCC Basketball Championships at Orleans Arena. Smith was suspended for the rest of the postseason pending an investigation.
Assistant coach Sam Scholl was at the helm for USD (18-13) as the No. 6-seed Toreros rallied from 17 points down to tie the score with less than four minutes to go but was unable to topple the No. 3-seed Cougars (23-9).
With 0:17 left in the game, Juwan Gray hit two free throws to get USD to within three, 81-78. Yoeli Childs was then fouled immediately but hit both his free throws to get BYU’s advantage back to five points. After Isaiah Wright the made the second of his two free throws, Childs sealed the deal for the Cougars with a dunk with two seconds left on the clock.
“At the end of the day, they just beat us,” Scholl said. “We fought our hearts out. Our guys showed us their resolve. We got it down from 17 points to tie the game. They just made a couple more plays and beat us.”
With the win, BUY heads to the WCC semifinals for the fifth straight times. Elijah Bryant and Childs combined scored a total of 49 points for the Cougars. The top scorers for USD were Isaiah Pineiro, who was 10 of 11 from the line, and Olin Carter III. They scored 21 and 20 points, respectively.
There were 11 lead changes in the game, with most of them happening the first half where the Toreros pulled out to an early lead at 11-6 with Cameron Neubauer, Carter III and Tyler Williams each converted a 3-pointer.
With the loss, USD is now out of the conference championships and is waiting to see if it gets invited to any other post-season tournaments.