PORTLAND – Four players scored in double-digits but it wasn’t enough as BYU lost to Portland 84-81 Saturday afternoon at the Chiles Center, snapping its four-game winning streak.
The Cougars were hoping to sweep their trip to the Northwest after a rousing one-point win at Gonzaga Thursday. But the Pilots, who came into the game on a four-game losing streak, were fired up and ready for BYU, rushing out to a double-digit lead in the first half. The Cougars eventually took a five-point lead with 8:06 to go in the second half. But Portland made three 3-pointers in a two-minute stretch to erase BYU’s advantage.
“Portland played really well, and hit some really big shots in the second half after we had established a lead,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “We were a couple of plays short in getting the win. We had the game in a place where we could win; we just needed to execute more down the stretch.”
Chase Fischer led the Cougars with 22 points and Kyle Davis had 20 points and six rebounds. Kyle Collinsworth added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and also contributed six assists. Nick Emery had 13 points and Nate Austin had seven points and 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.
After trailing by as many as 13, BYU (13-6, 4-2) tied the game up at 44 apiece at the beginning of the second half with a Fischer layup and two Emery free throws. Three-pointers from Portland’s (9-11, 3-4) D’Marques Tyson and Fischer kept the teams tied at 47 with 17:30 to play. The next four minutes were highlighted by strong defense from both teams that led to a scoreless drought for two minutes.
Collinsworth’s layup with 11:10 to play broke the drought and gave the Cougars their second lead of the night at 55-54 and first since with 17:53 mark in the first half.
Portland and BYU traded the lead for the next two minutes until Emery’s layup followed by Collinsworth’s steal on an inbounds pass led to a wide-open Fischer 3-pointer, giving the Cougars a 62-58 advantage with 8:40 to play.
The Cougars kept pace with the Pilots for the next three minutes until Portland pulled away with another 3-pointer with 1:06 to play in the game.
Austin’s layup with 48 seconds to go brought the Cougars within four points, and Emery hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left from the left corner to make it 81-79 for Portland.
A foul sent Portland back to the line and the Pilots were able to ice the game away with free throws, winning it 84-81.
“The Gonzaga win is kind of nullified by our loss tonight,” Austin said. “We were exactly where we wanted to be in the conference and we let the opportunity slip through our hands tonight. We still control our own destiny, which is good. We have a harder battle from here, though.”
Portland outshot BYU 45.2 percent to 38.0 percent from the field and made 10 treys to the Cougars six. BYU had an advantage on the boards with 44 boards to Portland’s 36, but the Pilot bench was hot, accounting for 32 points.
“If you’re missing six or seven shots out of the 10 you take, it’s going to be a long night,” Rose said. “Our guys battled it out tonight, especially on the glass, but it wasn’t enough to get the win today.”
Portland came out strong in the first half and built up a 13-point lead. A three-point play by Austin started a 13-2 run for the Cougars over the next four minutes, capped off by a jumper by Davis before the buzzer to bring BYU within two at the half, trailing 42-40.
The Cougars stay on the road and will head to Loyola Marymount Thursday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast on TWC SN and CSN+ and the live radio broadcast can be heard on the Cougars IMG Sports Network.
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