Comeback Cougars: Second half explosion pushes BYU past Portland 82-71 in WCC tournament action

Even after 32 games, this BYU men’s basketball team is still nearly impossible to understand.

In the WCC tournament’s second round Friday, the clueless Cougars appeared destined for an early offseason, trailing a frustrating Portland squad by 13 points at halftime.

Yet, Mark Pope’s motley crew refused to let the clock strike midnight, storming for 52 points in the second half to stun the Pilots in an 82-71 victory Friday in Las Vegas to earn at least one more contest in the WCC.

The Cougars opened the second half with an 18-2 run, reclaiming the lead for good with over 15 minutes left to play after trailing for all but 24 seconds prior to halftime. BYU would shoot 56.3% from the field and 43% from deep in the game’s final 20 minutes, completely flipping the switch from a hapless first half.

Who are these Cougars?

Whatever they are, they’re not finished quite yet.

Richie Saunders delivered the most impressive — and clutch — performance of his young BYU career, leading the Cougars with 18 points and adding seven rebounds along with relentless defensive punishment for Portland. Fouss Traore complemented his former Wasatch Academy teammate’s effort with a 14-point, nine rebound night as well, with BYU dishing out 19 assists and grabbing 44 boards as a team.

BYU advances to the WCC quarterfinal Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT against LMU.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Top Sports Stories

Life as a True Freshman in Division 1 College Football: Tre Alexander lll

Life as a True Freshman in Division 1 College Football: Tre Alexander lllChaotic. Sloppy. Intense.These are the first words that come to mind if...

A look back at BYU’s first year in the Big 12

A look back at BYU's first year in the Big 12Sept. 10, 2021, is a day that BYU fans will remember forever. The atmosphere...

Slow and steady wins the race: Lucas Bons’ climb to become one of the top milers in the country

Slow and steady wins the race: Lucas Bons’ climb to become one of the top milers in the countryKelly Clarkson famously sings, “What doesn’t...

Former BYU Cougar Daniel Schneemann shines in MLB debut

Former BYU Cougar Daniel Schneemann shines in MLB debutIt's been a long time coming for 27 year old rookie, and former BYU star, Daniel...
- Advertisement -
Print Friendly, PDF & Email