Facing one of their biggest games of the year with a need to reach the finals of the WCC Tournament to improve their NCAA Tournament hopes, the BYU Cougars turned in one of their finest performances of the year defeating the Portland Pilots 84-70 on Monday night.
March 9, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Kyle Collinsworth (5) shoots the basketball against the Portland Pilots during the first half in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Cougars dominated from start to finish as they pushed the lead to as much as 20 points in the first half. Chase Fischer was on fire going 6 for 8 from three point range in the first half and scoring 20 points. He had nearly as many points by himself as all of Portland as the Cougars led 42-24 at halftime.
With the game well in hand in the second half, the attention turned to Kyle Collinsworth and the record he was nearing. Collinsworth entered the game with five triple-doubles this season, a single season record. He was also just one shy of the career record, and all eyes were on him as he closed in on a record-tying triple double on Monday. A free throw with 6:45 left gave him his final point needed for the triple-double as cheers erupted and he trended nationally on Twitter.
Collinsworth finished the game with 14 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds. He is now just one of three players in NCAA history with 6 career triple-doubles. The last player with 6 career triple-doubles was Shaquille 0’Neal who played for LSU from 1990-92 and went on to an amazing NBA career. Collinsworth has all of the season and next year to try and get his 7th to take the record outright.
More from 2015 WCC Tournament
- Looking Back on Gonzaga’s Season
- Gonzaga Wins Men’s WCC Championship
- BYU Wins Women’s WCC Tournament Championship
- WCC Tournament Men’s Final Preview: #1 Gonzaga vs. #2 BYU
- WCC Championship Keys to the Game: Gonzaga
Portland struggled mightily while BYU was rolling. In the first half, they shot just 31% from field goal range and went 1-8 on three pointers. They finished just 2-11 from beyond the arc as their normally strong shooting just wasn’t there. They did manage to shoot 63.6% from field goal range in the second half, and it cut the lead down to the point where the final score didn’t fully reflect how the Cougars dominated the game.
Thomas Van der Mars, Gabe Taylor, and Bryce Pressley finished in double figures for the Pilots. They will now await their postseason fate as they are on the fringes of qualifying for a lower-level postseason tournament.
BYU advances to the finals on Tuesday to face Gonzaga. The Bulldogs pulled away in the 2nd half to blow out Pepperdine in the first semifinal on M0nday. There will be a lot of hype surrounding the game on Tuesday as these teams are meeting again less than two weeks after the Cougars pulled off a shocking upset of the Bulldogs in Spokane.
The final will take place on Tuesday at 6pm and be broadcast live on ESPN.