The first half of the BYU Cougars West Coast Conference Tournament semi-final game really couldn't have gone much better. BYU was able to utilize some mismatches on offense to ignite a run after Josh Sharp picked up his second foul early on in the half. The substitution of Frank Bartley IV lead to the Cougars getting in transition and having an extra ball handler who was attacking the basket and making plays.
Chase Fischer was absolutely on fire in the first half hitting six three point jumpers and a couple of free throws to tally 20 points for the half. The great defensive effort of BYU, holding the Portland Pilots to 31% shooting for the half, lead to BYU getting into their transition offense early and often. The guards made unselfish plays leading to open jump shots for Tyler Haws and Fischer seemingly every trip down the court. The open lanes helped Kyle Collinsworth contribute 4 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists, just in the first half. BYU lead 42-24 at the half.
The second half opened on an emphatic note with Corbin Kaufusi chasing down a rebound then running the floor and getting a one handed dunk off a Fischer miss. After that Portland just traded baskets with BYU for most of the second half. Portland capitalized on on BYU turnovers and missed shots to not allow BYU to completely run away with the game, but couldn't really close the gap either. BYU ultimately beat Portland 84-70, with Portland scoring some late buckets in garbage time to make the game look closer than it really was.
Portland was able to slow the game down and force BYU to play more in the half court than the free flowing transition game in first half. Even so, Portland was only able to keep the score even and never really threatened BYU in the second half. The only drama in the second half was how long it would take Kyle Collinsworth to get his sixth triple double of the season, and sixth of his career.
It finally happened with 6:45 left in the game when Kyle hit two free throws to finish with a stat line of 13 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, and 2 steals. You could feel the energy of the crowd as they were urging Kyle onto this new accomplishment; tying the career record for triple doubles. Kyle had multiple teammates pass up or miss open shots that would have lead to his 10th assist, and also missed a front end of a one and one trip to the free throw line that would have given him his 10th point.
Collinsworth was not the only player to play well tonight. Chase Fischer and Tyler Haws both had good scoring nights. Haws finished with 18 points and 3 assists, while Fischer contributed 24 points. Corbin Kaufusi had another solid outing playing very well defensively while contributing 9 points and 6 rebounds. The bench players also came up big, led by Skyler Halford's 10 points, and Frank Bartley IV played very well on both sides of the floor while Ryan Andrus provided some solid minutes to relieve Kaufusi.
BYU will take on Gonzaga in the WCC Championship game at 7pm MT on ESPN. The BYU women's team will also play in the Championship game at 2pm MT against San Francisco on ESPNU.