PROVO, Utah – An aggressive BYU offense led the Cougars to a 96-70 victory over West Coast Conference foe Portland Saturday night in the Marriott Center.
"I'm really proud of the guys," BYU head coach Mark Pope said. "It is crucial to who we are to have many contributors and there are so many guys to talk about tonight."
BYU shot 52.1 percent in field goals and 50.0 percent from beyond the arc. Zac Seljaas led all players with 21 points while hitting 5 of 5 from 3-point range. Dalton Nixon and TJ Haws both recorded their first career double-doubles. Nixon scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Haws recorded 13 points while dishing out a career-best 14 assists – two off the BYU single-game record. Jake Toolson also scored in double figures, scoring 12 points while tying his season high with eight assists.
The Cougars quickly pulled away at the start of the first half with a 15-0 run going a perfect 6 for 6 from the field with seven points coming from Nixon. Portland scored its first basket five minutes in, bringing the score to 15-2. Seljaas hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, extending the BYU lead to 24-2 six minutes into the half.
The Pilots came within 10 points at 33-23 after a 13-2 run, but the BYU offense continued to pull away. Back-to-back baskets from Alex Barcello and a trey from Connor Harding increased the lead to 40-23 with 5:34 left in the half. A shot from beyond the arc by Trevin Knell ended the Cougars’ two-minute scoring drought and a jumper from Nixon closed out the first half with BYU up 51-30.
Coming out of the break, the Cougars held onto the lead at 53-39 despite a 9-2 run from the Pilots. Seljaas drained a 3, bringing BYU to 60 points, while Portland sat at 45 points five minutes into the second half. The Pilots came within seven points at 62-55 after a 9-2 run.
With 10 minutes left in the game, the Cougars took off on a 17-2 run, with baskets from Seljaas and Haws, and led Portland 82-59. With three minutes remaining, Barcello hit a trey, pushing BYU beyond 90 points and extending the Cougar lead to 91-65. BYU closed out the game leading the Pilots by 26 points at 96-70.
Up next, the Cougars remain at home to host WCC foe San Diego on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on BYUtv and radio broadcasts will be available on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM. Tickets can be purchased on byutickets.com.