PORTLAND – Elijah Bryant finished with a career-high 39 points and went 10 of 17 from the field and 12 of 12 from the stripe as BYU men's basketball defeated Portland 97-78 on Thursday at the Chiles Center.
"We talked about it in pregame and I felt like these guys would come out and compete," head coach Dave Rose said. "I didn’t know if we would come out and compete individually or compete together. That’s what I am the happiest with. These guys were as good as we’ve been together tonight in a really long time.”
Bryant’s 39 points combined with a career-high 11 rebounds from Braiden Shaw, who recorded his first career start for BYU (20-10, 11-6 West Coast Conference), contributed to the 19-point win over Portland (10-20, 2-15 WCC). Three additional Cougars finished in double figures, including Eric Mika with 19 points and eight rebounds, Nick Emery who finished with 16 points and three 3-pointers and Steven Beo who recorded 12 points, tying his career-high. BYU finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field.
The Cougars recorded a season-high 13 3-pointers, with seven coming from Bryant. Bryant’s performance of 39 points are the most by any player in the WCC this season.
After Portland opening the game on top 2-0, BYU hit four straight 3-pointers from Emery and Bryant, and the Cougars took a 12-3 lead that was then extended to 14-3 after two Mika free throws. The Pilots fought back, however, scoring four straight points before Bryant and Mika combined for seven more points and a 20-7 lead with 14:14 remaining.
Bryant and Emery continued to fire away from three, each recording another trey, with Mika scoring a layup to put the Cougars up 28-13 over the Pilots. Following a timeout, Emery drained a third 3-pointer which was followed by two Bryant free throws before BYU went scoreless for the next two-and-a-half minutes. Emery then took the lid off the basket with a jumper and the Cougars went up 35-19 with 8:32 remaining in the half.
Shaw and Beo began contributing to the Cougars’ total, each recording a field goal to put BYU up 39-23 with 6:33 to go. Mika came up with BYU’s next seven points, but turnovers began to plague the Cougars as Portland cut the deficit to 12 with free throws, a jumper and a 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining. Bryant entered the game again and scored four quick points and Emery finished off the half with a free throw with one second left and BYU went into the locker room up 51-34.
The Cougars opened up the half with a Mika jumper, followed by Haws’ first points of the game, a 3-pointer, to put BYU up by 20, 56-36. Mika and Shaw combined for four more points before Bryant scored yet another 3-pointer. Beo recorded five more points including a trey to extend the Cougar lead to 25, 70-45 with 13:47 left in the game.
BYU began to slow down a bit in the final minutes, but two more 3-pointers from Bryant were enough to maintain a comfortable lead over Portland. Mika, Emery, Beo and Frampton all contributed additional points in the final four minutes while a rare eight-point possession for the Pilots shortened the Cougar lead to 17, at 95-78. It would prove inconsequential, however, as BYU cruised to victory, defeating the Pilots, 97-78.
The Cougars will next travel to Spokane to conclude the regular season against No. 1 Gonzaga at McCarthey Athletic Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. PST and will be televised on ESPN or ESPN 2 and broadcast on the radio on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
BYU will being the final week of the regular season with a road matchup at Portland Thursday in the Chiles Center at 7 p.m. PST. Thursday's game will be televised live on ROOT Rocky Mountain and CSN California and broadcast live on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, 102.7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
BYU is 15-2 all-time against Portland and has won six of the last seven overall. In the first meeting this season, the Cougars defeated the Pilots 73-62 in Provo. Eric Mika (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Yoeli Childs (15 points, 10 rebounds) contributed double-doubles as BYU overcame a 10-point deficit to win.
BYU coach Dave Rose is currently 10th among active head coaches in winning percentage at 73.5. Earlier this season he reached the 300 victory milestone. The 300th win came in Rose’s 407th game as head coach, tying him with John Thompson and Bob Knight for 25th fastest in NCAA history to reach 300 wins.
Eric Mika is having a decorated sophomore season as he’s been named WCC Player of the Week three times, is one of 10 finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and has been named CoSIDA Academic All-District.
BYU Cougars (19-10, 10-6 WCC)
- Head Coach: Dave Rose
- Alma Mater: Houston, 1983
- Division I Career Record: 302-109 (12th)
- Record at BYU: Same
Portland Pilots (10-19, 2-14 WCC)
- Head Coach: Terry Porter
- Alma Mater: UW-Stevens Point, 1993
- Career Record: 10-19 (1st)
- Record at Portland: Same
- TV: ROOT RM, CSN California
- TV Talent: Tom Glasgow (play-by-play), Francis Williams (analyst)
- Live Video: TheW.tv
- Radio: Cougar IMG Sports Network, 102.7 FM/1160 AM, BYU Radio, Sirius XM 143
- Radio Talent: Greg Wrubell (play-by-play), Steve Cleveland (analyst)
- Live Stats: BYUcougars.com
Series Record: BYU leads 15-2
Last Meeting: BYU won 73-62, 2/4/17