BYU (13-7) at Portland (11-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 23, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chiles Center (4,852) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: ROOT NW/RM. Home Record: BYU 8-1, Portland 7-5. Away Record: BYU 3-5, Portland 2-3. Neutral Record: BYU 2-1, Portland 2-0. Conference Record: BYU 5-2, Portland 3-4. Series Record: BYU leads, 9-0.
GAME NOTES: The BYU Cougars try to continue their dominance over the Portland Pilots when the teams get together for a West Coast Conference battle at the Chiles Center on Thursday night.
Since the series between the teams began back in 1957, the Pilots have been unable to break through in nine tries. The most recent meeting took place last February, with the Cougars posting an 86-72 win.
The Cougars entered this week sitting in second place in the WCC standings, sporting a record of 5-2 and trailing only Gonzaga which has dropped one of seven decisions. BYU lost the first two conference games on the slate, but has since responded with five consecutive victories.
The most recent win for the Cougars came at Santa Clara last weekend, as the team delivered a 91-81 triumph.
As for the Pilots, they are jammed into the middle of the pack in the WCC standings with three wins in seven tries. The squad saw a brief two-game win streak come to an end last Saturday when it suffered a 76-65 loss to Pepperdine in Malibu.
Santa Clara led by three points for a moment in the first half, but that was before the Cougars converted 58.6 percent from the field and 6-of-8 beyond the arc on the period, in addition to limiting the hosts to just 32.3 percent shooting from the floor. Boasting six double-digit scorers in the triumph, BYU was led by Kyle Collinsworth with his 18 points and seven rebounds, followed by Tyler Haws and reserve Anson Winder with 16 points apiece. In addition to posting 15 points, Matt Carlino also handed out a game-high nine assists, while Eric Mika and Skylar Halford pitched in 10 points each.
In conference play, the Cougars have five players averaging double figures, with Haws topping the list at 20.7 ppg as he shoots a stellar 46-of-50 at the free-throw line. Collinsworth accounts for another 16.1 ppg and is first with 8.3 rpg, 36 assists and 18 steals, doing all he can at both ends of the floor to make the team successful. Carlino, who has become a huge resource coming off the bench, chips in 11.9 ppg while making at least three 3-pointers in each of the last three games.
Ahead by four at the break against Pepperdine, the Pilots were far more forgiving on defense in the second half as they allowed the Waves to put up 46 points, en route to the 11-point decision. Kevin Bailey tried to keep hope alive for the visitors as he tallied 27 points, shooting 12-of-14 at the free- throw line, but it wasn't enough. Ryan Nicholas chipped in 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the losing cause as well.
On a team that is generating 77.4 ppg, Bailey leads all scorers with his 17.2 ppg, having made more free-throws (87-of-117) than anyone else on the roster has yet to attempt. Nicholas produces another 12.7 ppg as he shoots 47.6 percent from the field, and Thomas van der Mars is close behind with 12.3 ppg, having made just as many field goals (90) as Nicholas, but on 37 fewer shots.
As long as the Pilots can generate some significant offense they should make this an interesting meeting. However, if Haws and Carlino get too comfortable behind the 3-point line, it could be all over by halftime.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 84, Portland 66
01/23 10:17:51 ET