Johnny Dee knocked down four free throws in the final 13 seconds to give San Diego just enough breathing room and capture a 72-69 win over the BYU Cougars in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament at Orleans Arena.
Dee finished with a game-high 25 points for sixth-seeded San Diego (16-17), converting 8-of-11 at the free-throw line overall. Also scoring in double figures for the Toreros were Chris Anderson and Ken Rancifer with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Chris Manresa collected a game-high 10 rebounds as well.
The third-seeded Cougars (21-11) were paced by Brandon Davies and Tyler Haws with 20 points apiece, the former coming close to recording a rare triple- double as he also pulled down nine rebounds and handed out eight assists in the setback. Matt Carlino tacked on 13 points and seven boards.
Shooting just 38.2 percent from the floor in the first half, San Diego still managed to move out to a 31-20 advantage with four minutes to play before the break. The Cougars made only one of their six chances beyond the arc in the frame, but still battled back to trail by just seven points at intermission, 35-28.
Coming out in the second half BYU put together a run of its own in order to grab a brief two-point edge at 40-38. San Diego appeared to have the game wrapped up when Dee connected on a pair of free throws with 12.3 seconds left to give the Toreros a 70-66 advantage.
Refusing to go away quietly, Carlino came down and nailed a 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds to play to cut the deficit to just a single point. However, Dee knocked down another pair at the charity stripe moments later, while a desperation 3-pointer by Carlino missed the mark at the buzzer.
The Toreros will be back in action on Saturday night to take on second-seeded Saint Mary's-CA in the semifinals.