The BYU men’s basketball team rebounded from a disappointing loss to Gonzaga with a gritty win over Portland, defeating the Pilots 73-62 on Saturday night at the Marriott Center.
It was win No. 300 for BYU head coach Dave Rose.
Eric Mika led BYU with a 23-point and 12-rebound double-double while Yoeli Childs also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“It’s a good way to win a game for a young team,” Rose said. “We had a lot of opportunities where we let go- we had balls knocked away from us, we missed rebounds, we missed assignments in executing plays, and we were still able to somehow find a way to win the game.”
Portland, trying to end a nine-game losing streak, came out with an intensity the Cougars struggled to match after having played the number one team in the nation just two days ago.
The Pilots jumped out to a 15-10 lead while BYU started ice cold from the field, going 0-for-7 from 3-point range and shooting just over 40 percent from the field in the first half.
“Saturday games are always a little bit tougher because you want to give it your all on Thursday’s game,” Childs said. “Once we got the adrenaline going and started working through that, we started playing a lot better.”
Tough drives by Elijah Bryant helped jump start the Cougars’ offense while cutting Portland’s lead to one.
But the Pilots held tough during the final stretch of the half, going on a five point run to extend their lead to eight.
A D’Marques Tyson 3-pointer gave Portland a game high lead of 10 at the 4:42 mark.
Portland would take a 34-28 lead into the locker room, while leading BYU in total rebounds, second chance points, bench points, turnovers, 3-pointers and points off of turnovers.
A pair of jumpers by Childs and two 3-pointers by TJ Haws put the Cougars up 38-34 to start the second half.
Portland would cut the lead to two, but a quick 5-0 run by the Cougars, capped by a Mika three point play off a Childs block, put BYU back up 46-39.
The Pilots would then regain the lead 48-47 with 10:27 to play after another 3-pointer by Tyson.
Tyson’s 3-pointer was part of a 12-4 run for Portland that ended with the Pilots leading 56-51 with 6:27 to play.
But the Cougars were determined to avoid losing back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2015.
A 3-pointer by Davin Guinn with 4:28 to play cut Portland’s lead to three and drew a roar from a Marriott Center crowd that had been waiting for something to cheer for.
“That three he hit was huge,” Coach Rose said. “We were having a hard time. It got the crowd back and it gave us an emotional lift when things were looking pretty tough.”
From there, BYU went on a 15-2 run to seal the victory.
Coach Rose’s 300th win
“We’re super excited for him,” Guinn said. “Coach Rose is a pretty humble guy, he doesn’t say a whole lot about that kind of stuff, but it’s got to feel good and we’re all happy for him.”
Coach Rose showed that dedication to the game and BYU’s program when asked about the win.
“Right now it means that we can move on to what’s next,” Rose said. “I do feel really grateful. I feel gratitude to the players, my staff, and our university administration and athletic administration have been terrific. All that combined has allowed me to be around and win a few games, so I’m grateful for that.”
Rose has averaged 25.7 wins per season since taking over as head coach in 2005-06. He and the Cougars have made the NCAA tournament eight times during his tenure and he became the 25th fastest coach to reach the milestone on Saturday night.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 17-8 overall, 8-4 in conference play. Currently the Cougars sit tied with Santa Clara in third place in the WCC.
Up next for BYU is a trip to Pepperdine on Feb. 9. Tip off is set for 9pm MST.
Earlier on the day, the BYU women’s basketball team defeated Portland 77-38 behind 16 points from Makenzi Pulsipher.