BYU Outruns Portland for Victory


Dec 27, 2014; Provo, UT, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Kevin Pangos (4) dribbles the ball as Brigham Young Cougars guard Anson Winder (20) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Tyler Haws (3) defend during the second half at Marriott Center. The Bulldogs won 87-80. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Three BYU players scored over 20 points as the Cougars used a high speed offensive attack to defeat Portland 97-88.  Both teams had 5 players score in double figures, and both teams scored over 50 points in the second half.  BYU held a comfortable lead for almost the entire second half, but the Pilots kept it close with the hot second half shooting from Bobby Sharp and the dribble penetration of Alec Wintering.  But the Cougars got too many easy baskets in transition and did a good job converting on the free throw line to close out the game.

Tyler Haws did not shoot the ball particularly well, but still finished with 24 points on 8/20 shooting to go with 6 assists (1 turnover), 2 steals and 5 rebounds.  Starting for the first time this season, Anson Winder made the adjustment well with 24 points on 10/14 shooting, using his speed and physicality to drive to the basket in addition to some easy fast break layups.  Kyle Collinsworth was once again Mr. Everything with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.  Despite a late second half benching in favor of Skyler Halford, Chase Fischer played well, scoring 15 points on 5/7 shooting and 2/3 from beyond the arc.  Halford also had a good game with 12 points and 6 assists, even though he did struggle shooting on 3/10 from the field.

Portland was led by Alec Wintering with a career high 30 points, using his quickness to get in the lane, blowing by countless BYU defenders.  When the Pilots were in the bonus, he drew many non-shooting fouls from the Cougar defenders, and ended up going 15/17 from the free throw line.  Volodymyr Gerun had a solid outing with 14 points, while fellow starting big men Riley Barker and Thomas van der Mars added 10 points apiece, with Thomas adding 8 rebounds.  Despite getting off to a slow starting, shooting guard Bryce Pressley had a solid second half and finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists (1 turnover).  Reserve guard Jason Todd also had a solid outing with 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists, carrying the distributing load with Wintering focused on scoring.

Even though all three of Portland’s big men had solid games, BYU once again that their guards can carry all of the scoring load to lead the Cougars to victory.  Corbin Kaufusi is still limited offensively despite some key offensive rebounds, and Luke Worthington missed a wide open layup en route to 0/2 shooting.  Their ineffectiveness on offense gives Dave Rose another reason to go with the four guard lineup.

Portland is at it’s best when Alec Wintering is the distributor, but that can only happen if Kevin Bailey is healthy.  Wintering is having to do too much offensively, resulting in his 3 assists and 4 turnovers in tonight’s game against BYU.  He also struggled defensively, as four BYU guards who are all much taller than Wintering all went off for big games.

Stat of the Night

BYU’s 9 steals, compared to Portland’s 4, made the difference in this game, because BYU’s steals allowed them to get out in transition and get a lot of easy baskets.  All four BYU starting guards had 2 steals, showing improvement on defense from last season.  The 88 points the Cougars gave up was more a result of the fast pace of the game rather than poor BYU defense.

Moving Forward

BYU will travel to Santa Clara for a road contest on New Year’s Day.  Like the Cougars, the Broncos are dominated in scoring by the backcourt, so it will be interesting to see how that one plays out.  Portland will have off until Saturday when they play likely their toughest conference game vs. Gonzaga.  If Kevin Bailey is not healthy for that game, the Pilots might be in big trouble, even with their frontline to matchup up with Gonzaga’s.