After an emotional victory over Saint Mary’s last week, BYU had to avoid a horrible upset against the worst team in the WCC. Jake Toolson injured his ankle against Saint Mary’s and didn’t practice at all this week, but felt good enough by game-time to start. TJ Haws had the most emotional week, hitting the game-winning shot against the Gaels and then having the birth of his first son the day after.
BYU had an up-and-down first half, going on an 8-0 run early to get up 17-9. BYU shot 44% from the field in the first half, struggling more than they usually do, and adding 7 turnovers, which is also uncharacteristic. They made up the difference in rebounds, winning that battle 23-16, and shooting 7-13 from 3-point range. Yoeli Childs struggled in the first half, only scoring 6 points, but finished the half with a strong 3-point play to get the Cougars up 12 at the break. Jake Toolson played a good first half, scoring 12 points on 4-5 shooting from 3 point range.
Toolson and Childs began the second half with their own 8-0 run, giving the Cougars a 51-31 lead. BYU’s defense stepped it up as well, holding Portland to 5 points in the first 8 minutes of the second half. Once BYU got up, they didn’t look back, building a 27 point lead at the under-8 timeout. BYU finished the game strong, which is what you want to see against a team like Portland. The Pilots only scored 23 points in the 2nd half. The final score was 85-54.
The players of the game for BYU were easily Jake Toolson and Yoeli Childs. Yoeli had a rough first half, but came out firing on all cylinders in after halftime. He finished the game with 22 points and 8 rebounds. Toolson was phenomenal, even with a bum ankle. He scored 22 points as well, lighting up the nets from deep, shooting 6-8 from behind the arc. Props go to Alex Barcello as well, who contributed 17 of his own. The Cougars shot 51% from the field and 43% from 3 point range.
The biggest news of the night came before the game started, with reports that Gavin Baxter was dressed and warming up with the team. He was finally cleared by doctors earlier this week to play, so ever since then fans have been anticipating seeing him on the court. However, he stayed on the bench tonight (he was at the scorer’s table about to head in with about two minutes left, but Pope pulled him back). Feel free to speculate about his return. With him dressing out for this game, it’ll be interesting to see if he plays Saturday against USF and how much of the court he sees.