The BYU men’s basketball team ended a four-game win streak in WCC play after falling 84-81 to Portland Saturday afternoon.
Coming off an exciting 69-68 upset over Gonzaga two days ago, BYU once again got off to a slow start. BYU still struggled with turnovers, committing 10 of their 14 in the first half. Portland outshot BYU from the field 45 percent to 38 percent and the Cougars made only 27 percent of their 3-point attempts.
“In the end, Portland just beat us,” senior forward Nate Austin said. “It seemed like early, they just had a little more energy, a little more physicality.”
BYU fought back from two double-digit deficits of 13 and 10 points, respectively, in the first half. Portland held a two-point cushion heading into halftime with a score of 42-40.
The Cougars tied the game 44-44 on a set of free throws by freshman guard Nick Emery less than two minutes into the second half. Portland sophomore guard D’Marques Tyson then hit a shot from beyond the arc and BYU senior guard Chase Fischer answered by hitting a 3-pointer as well, tying the game 47-47.
“I like the way we responded,” Austin said. “But then after we responded, I think Portland hit one or two more shots and came out on top. You got to give a lot of credit to Portland.”
BYU created its biggest lead of the game in under 10 seconds as Emery made a layup, senior guard Kyle Collinsworth stole the ball and then Fischer hit a key 3-pointer to put the Cougars up 62-58 with 8:41 left in the game. The Cougars led by as many as five points but couldn’t maintain the lead as the Pilots fought back.
The Cougars’ best opportunity to steal the win came with 22 seconds left in the game as Emery rebounded the ball, dribbled to 3-point range and hit a shot beyond arc to bring BYU within two with a score of 81-79. The Pilots then nailed three free throws and Collinsworth made a layup in the last play of the game before Portland came away with an 84-81 victory.
“We had the game at a place where we could win it if we just would have executed a little bit better down the stretch,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said.
Fischer led the Cougars with 22 points while Collinsworth recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Kyle Davis scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half and had six rebounds. Emery contributed 13 points and Austin had 11 rebounds, including six offensive boards.
Rose said the team knew Portland was going to come out determined after a disappointing loss earlier in the week.
“We were a couple plays short there, trying to get the win and get home,” Rose said. “I think our guys had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen.
Three Pilot players scored 20 or more points as junior guard Alec Wintering scored 21, while senior guard Bryce Pressley and Tyson had 20 each.
The Cougars fell to 13-6 overall and 4-2 in conference. BYU sets out on another road trip with a game at Loyola Marymount Thursday, Jan. 21 at 9 p.m. MST followed by one at Pepperdine Saturday, January 23 at 6 p.m. MST. The Loyola Marymount game will be televised on TWC SN and CSN+. It can also be found on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM / 102.7 FM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.