BYU (15-6) at Portland (8-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chiles Center (4,852) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: BYU 10-1, Portland 6-5. Away Record: BYU 3-3, Portland 1-7. Neutral Record: BYU 2-2, Portland 1-1. Conference Record: BYU 5-2, Portland 1-5. Series Record: BYU leads, 7-0.
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 losing effort.
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 game.
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.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 78, Portland 62
01/26 10:40:48 ET