Yoeli Childs recorded his 4th double-double of the season with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks as the BYU Cougars were able to outlast the Portland Pilots 73-62 at the Marriott Center on Saturday night. Eric Mika also had a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds on just 5/15 shooting, while T.J. Haws provided an offensive spark early in the second half and finished with 15 points. L.J. Rose had his first double figure scoring game since November with 10 points behind a couple of crucial transition buckets in the second half.
BYU had early success down low with Mika and Childs finishing around the rim, but T.J. Haws and Nick Emery combined for just two points in the first half. All of the Lone Peak Three picked up two fouls in the first half, so the Cougars had to go deep into the bench by giving extended minutes to Davin Guinn, Steven Beo, and Colby Leifson. As a result, these offensively limited players were not able to get anything going, and BYU trailed 34-28 going into halftime. Portland had that six point lead despite shooting just 35% from the field in the first half.
The Cougars opened up a six point lead early in the second half behind consecutive three pointers from T.J. Haws and great effort on both ends of the floor from Yoeli Childs. While Portland took a six point lead in the second half behind hot shooting from D’Marques Tyson, BYU received a big defensive boost from an unexpected source. Davin Guinn was very active at the top of the 1-3-1 zone, moving side to side to pressure the Portland ball handlers. He forced a couple of steals, which allowed BYU to get out and run in transition, where the Cougars are at their best. BYU ended the game on an 18-1 run to close out the Pilots 73-62.
Eric Mika once again had difficulty finishing when defended by the 7’1 Phillip Hartwich, going just 5/15 from the field. He never shied away from contact, and eventually forced the officials to blow their whistle after many non-calls early in the game. He attempted a career high 19 free throw attempts, making 13 of them, including many key ones down the stretch to ice the game. Nick Emery shot just 1 for 6 from the field for the second consecutive game coming off an illness. Look for him to get his rhythm back next week after a few days of practice.
This was certainly a disappointing effort for the first 35 minutes of the game against a mediocre team playing without their star point guard Alec Wintering, but it was nice to see the Cougars ratchet up the defense when they needed to in order to get the victory. BYU has a two-game road trip next week in California, as they will travel to take on Pacific and San Francisco.
News and Notes
- Elijah Bryant took a few poor three point shots and committed 3 turnovers, and BYU was -12 when he was on the floor. As a result he played just 14 minutes, the fewest he’s played since returning from injury on January 5th.
- BYU’s shooting woes continue, as the Cougars went just 3/16 from beyond the arc in the victory.
- BYU shot 16 more free throws than Portland and committed 3 fewer turnovers than the Pilots did.