Seneca Knight dunks against Portland in the Marriott Center on Saturday. (Decker Westenburg)

BYU’s second-half surge leads to resounding 78-65 win over Portland

A second-half surge from the BYU men’s basketball team led to a 78-65 win over conference foe Portland on Saturday in the Marriott Center.

Portland (10-9, 1-3 WCC) did not make it easy for the Cougars to push them around, beginning the game with an 8-0 run, while also making back-to-back 3-pointers on their first two shots of the game.

BYU pushed through the adversity with a 6-0 run of its own, while continuing to challenge the Pilots’ aggressiveness at the basket. Portland was hot from the 3-point line in the first half, shooting 7-of-15 from downtown.

Te’Jon Lucas was the biggest highlight of the first half for the Cougars, finishing the game going 6-of-11 from the field while shooting 3-of-5 from the 3-point line.

The first half ended in an exhilarating rush of adrenaline for both the players and fans as the Cougars went on an 8-0 run that included two 3-pointers from Seneca Knight to fire up the crowd. Knight finished with 14 points and a BYU career-high four 3-pointers.

Seneca Knight high-fives fans after making a 3-pointer just before the half. (Decker Westenbrurg)

“They just told me to keep shooting it,” Knight said of his teammates and fans.

BYU honored the 1980-81 Elite 8 men’s basketball team at halftime, including NBA All-Star and Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge.

“Those guys essentially built this building,” Mark Pope said.

Danny Ainge signs a BYU fan’s Celtics jersey after being honored with the 1981 team. (Decker Westenburg)

The Cougars came out roaring to begin the second half with a 5-0 run, causing the Pilots to call an early timeout. From that moment on the Cougars never surrendered the lead.

Fouss Traore had himself a night on his birthday, achieving a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while also shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from the field.

BYU (17-4, 5-1 WCC) takes firm control of second place in the West Coast Conference after tonight’s win. This is the first time in BYU men’s basketball history that the Cougars have started 5-1 in conference play.

The Cougars hit the road to take on Santa Clara next Thursday evening at 9 p.m. MST.

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