LOS ANGELES — At halftime Saturday at the Staples Center against USC, BYU guards Nick Emery and T.J. Haws were held scoreless, and they were shooting a combined 0 for 12 from the field.
Haws ended up scoring 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, while Emery finished with 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting. But they weren't able to produce points in the first half as the Cougars squandered a 10-point lead early on.
As a team, BYU made just 5 of 23 from 3-point land, and it shot 43 percent overall from the field.
“We had a terrible time making perimeter shots," said coach Dave Rose.
And that was a big reason why the Trojans beat the Cougars, 91-84.
It was all part of USC coach Andy Enfield’s game plan.
“We wanted to run guys off the line, especially BYU, because they’re so dangerous and explosive,” Enfield said. “They can string three, four or five makes in a row from NBA range. I thought our guys took the challenge to get to the shooters early. Our defense in the first half was the reason (USC got the lead). We defended the 3-point line and we got our hands on a lot of balls. We had seven steals at halftime. We just don’t want to give open threes. That’s our team’s defensive philosophy.”
Rose lamented his guards’ inability to generate offense in the first half.
“We went into halftime and our two starting guards are 0 for 6 from the field,” Rose said. “That frustrated us to the point where we slowed the game down and we didn’t play with that same aggressive, attacking mode that makes us good.”
DAVIS RETURNS: Forward Kyle Davis, who was sidelined for the win over Utah State last Wednesday due to a sore knee, returned to the lineup Saturday against USC.
Davis played 18 minutes, scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds, though he is still ailing.
“He was really good. He was a guy that we could get the ball to down low, and he could make positive plays for us,” Rose said of Davis. “I kind of had a number on him. I didn’t want to play him 30 or 40 minutes in this game. He was playing well enough to play a lot more minutes. Hopefully, we can get him better and get him back to 100 percent.”
TIP-INS: USC started the game 1 of 17 from the field but shot 55.6 percent in the second half. … BYU outrebounded the Trojans, 41-34. … Three USC players scored in double figures — Jordan McLaughlin (24 points), Shaqquan Aaron (19) and De’Anthony Melton (12). … Melton also recorded eight rebounds and six assists.