The Saturday match-up between the Cougars and the Pilots will be the 11th between the schools. The Cougars are 9-1 but lost a heartbreaking triple overtime game just a few weeks ago. The first meeting took place in 1957 and BYU won the first nine before this year's loss. The Cougars will be looking to make up for the loss and solidify the second seed in the WCC Tournament.
Portland, OR 2013 (9-1)
With Tyler Haws scoring a career high 48 points and Matt Carlino adding 25, the Cougars dropped a triple overtime thriller to the Pilots 114-110. After Carlino deflected a Portland pass into the waiting arms of Haws for a quick lay-up, the Cougars held the Pilots scoreless on their last possession in order to send it to overtime. Portland seemed to dominate the first overtime as they led by seven with 45 seconds left but BYU hit a couple of three pointers and some free throws to force the second overtime. This time the Cougars dominated as they led by eight with just under three minutes left. Even with a four point lead and only 47 seconds left, the Pilots were able to tie the game on some deadly three point shots. BYU couldn't get themselves going in the final overtime as the were held scoreless for over three minutes to start the period and the Cougars could only pull within three before the end of the game. In addition to Carlino's 25 points he added nine assists and seven steals. Kyle Collinsworth added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Provo, UT 2013 (9-0)
Back in the friendly confines of the Marriott Center, the Cougars looked to duplicate the blow out in Portland. BYU again started off strong and led by eight early before the Cougars defense stifled the Pilots and went into the half with a 46-25 lead. After increasing their lead to 22 in the second half, Portland went on a run that brought them back to 62-45 but again the Cougars would answer and increase the lead to 24 before the Cougars finished off the game at 86-72. Four Cougars scored in double-digits as Haws led all scorers with 28 while Davies added 23. Craig Cusick and Carlino both added 10.
Coming off a huge win against league leading Gonzaga, the Cougars are back in the conversation for an at-large berth in the big dance. The Cougars used rebounding and defense to stop a five game skid to the Bulldogs and are confident heading into the final home game of the year. BYU is looking for revenge after their game at Portland and will have final crowd of the year providing a sixth man presence.
For the second straight game the Cougars defense stepped up and gave BYU a win. While holding Gonzaga to almost 10 points less than their average, they held the Bulldogs to 41% shooting, which was well below their average. The Cougars also had 10 steals while forcing a total of 16 turnovers. By getting up on the shooters and forcing rushed shots, BYU forced Gonzaga into a 22% three point shooting percentage. Rebounding was critical in the win and BYU managed nine more rebounds, five of which were on the offensive side.
The Cougars once again were unable to hold a double digit lead in the first half, allowing an opponent to find their way back into the game. With the combination of rushed shots, missed free throws, and sloppy ball movement, the Cougars stalled when they could have put the game away. At key times the Cougars gave the ball away and ended with only one more assists than turnovers (15-14).
The Keys to Watch
When Portland has the ball: Watch for Portland to get utilize Kevin Bailey, their junior leader, more in this game than the previous one. With Thomas Van der Mars and Bobby Sharp putting together career nights, Bailey wasn't needed as much. Bailey leads the team in scoring with just over 16 points per game while averaging two assists and three rebounds a game. When he has the ball, watch for the Cougars to pressure him, as he also leads the team in turnovers with just over two a game. With Van der Mars supplementing Baily with 13 points per game and seven rebounds, the Cougars will have their hands full. Now that Sharp has shown what he can do against the Cougars, look for them to keep a man close to him and force others to take shots. Watch for the Cougars to continue pressuring as they force turnovers and play physical inside and out.
When BYU has the ball: Watch for the Cougars to continue to drive to the lane and force teams to either foul or give up the easy shot. Collinsworth will continue to drive and dish when needed, allowing Haws and Carlino to get open around the perimeter. Watch for Erik Mika to force his will inside the paint and making the defenders pick their poison. Watch for the Pilots to double Mika and force jumps shots from the Cougars. Portland will be quick to foul before giving up the easy shot, making BYU take advantage of their free shots. The Pilots will look to prevent offensive rebounds and second chance points as BYU could thrive in this area as they continue to play well.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 7 pm MST
Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah
Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here