GAME NOTES: The BYU Cougars look to bounce back from a humbling loss as they
take on the Portland Pilots in West Coast Conference action at the Chiles
Center on Saturday.
The Cougars swept the season series against Portland last season, defeating
the Pilots, 79-60, at Portland and 76-66 at home. The duel victories gave BYU
a 7-0 all-time record in the series.
Dave Rose's Cougars are coming off a demoralizing, 83-63, setback at No. 10
Gonzaga. The loss dropped BYU to a 15-6 overall record including a 5-2 mark in
WCC action. Josh Sharp tallied a career-high 14 points while Brandon Davies
matched him in the scoring column, grabbed six boards, and swiped three
steals. Matt Carlino provided 11 points, four steals, and four assists to the
BYU was expected to be the third horse in the running for the WCC Championship
with Saint Mary's and Gonzaga, but it played at a level below the long time
members. The Cougars rank third in the league in scoring offense with an
admirable mark of 77.6 ppg, but they are seventh on the other end of the floor
with an allowed average of 67.5 ppg. They were completely outdone by Gonzaga,
as the Bulldogs shot 56.9 percent from the field and limited BYU to 35.6
percent shooting. Sophomore guard Tyler Haws, who leads the conference in
scoring with 20.6 ppg, had scored 20-plus points in seven consecutive games
before posting just one versus the Zags. Davis is netting 17.8 points and 7.2
boards per tilt, while Carlino adds just under 10 points and 4.3 assists per
Portland is also looking to bounce back, but from a much more serious case of
struggles. The Pilots lost their sixth game in their last seven on Thursday
when they came up short versus San Francisco. Ryan Nicholas paced the team by
pouring in 23 points, while Kevin Bailey chipped in 15 points for the Pilots
as they lost their third in a row.
The Pilots are just 1-5 in WCC action and have been outscored by an average
margin of 10.2 points per game during those contests. Coach Eric Reveno's
squad is really finding difficulty on the offensive end, where it is scoring a
league-worst 54.0 ppg in WCC action. Portland is going to need to rely on its
defensive capabilities to fend off the Cougars. It ranks second in the WCC in
points allowed per game during conference play (64.2), trailing only Saint
Mary's (61.8). Nicholas is near a double-double average with 13.1 points and
9.5 rebounds per contest and Bailey chimes in with 12.1 ppg, but there is a
big drop off after the one-two punch.
BYU should be able to gain its footing for another leap towards the pinnacle
of the WCC standings in this one. The Pilots are not a well-rounded unit and
the their go-to-guys cannot get the job done on their own.