PROVO — When the final buzzer sounded the last time BYU played at Portland, one year ago, Cougar guard Tyler Haws was exhausted.
For good reason.
Haws scored a career-high 48 points in 50 minutes in BYU’s crazy 114-110 triple-overtime loss at the Chiles Center.
“I was really, really tired at the end,” Haws remembered.
The Cougars squandered a 99-91 lead in the final two minutes of the second overtime, and Haws missed a jumper at the end of the second OT that could have won the game.
“It’s hard to go that far and not come away with a win. But it was one of the funnest games I’ve ever played in,” Haws said. “Back-and-forth, back-and-forth. Each team wasn’t going to give up on what was going on. We’re excited to play there again, and hopefully the outcome can be different.”
Unheralded Portland guard Bobby Sharp killed BYU by hitting eight 3-pointers and scoring a career-high 27 points. As a team, the Pilots drilled 14-of-23 3-pointers.
The loss snapped BYU’s five-game winning streak. The Cougars head into Thursday’s game at Portland riding a four-game winning streak.
“I’ve watched it so many times,” BYU coach Dave Rose said of last year’s game. “I remember the big shots that put us into overtime and the big shots on their part to get it to the second overtime. It was a game that was full of great individual plays. I remember the emotions, where you think, ‘This one's going to get away from us,’ then you’re right back in it. Then the emotion of thinking it’s going to end well, then you’re tied again. Hopefully, we can do a better job of managing the score up there.”
Portland boasts a huge front line, with 7-footers Thomas van der Mars and Volodymyr Gerun.
“They’re tough. They’re really good at home,” Rose said. “The challenge for us is that what makes us really successful is what they’re really good at not letting you do. They are the best offensive rebounding team in the league. We have to defensive rebound to win. They have the top two offensive rebounders in the league in their starting lineup. That will be our challenge, to move these big guys around and get other guys in to secure the ball, get clean stops and be able to run.”
HOLMOE ON BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS: BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe talked Tuesday about three major basketball announcements that came last week — coach Dave Rose’s five-year contract extension, the building of a new basketball practice facility, and extensive Marriott Center renovations.
The new basketball facility had been discussed for decades.
“It’s very important to the future success of our basketball program,” Holmoe said. “I’m grateful that we were able to do it. We had great support from our administration and donors. It was a private fundraising enterprise, and it worked. It was a long and arduous thing and it worked. Dave Rose is thrilled to have that piece of his program put together, and it will help us in great ways.”
Holmoe is in his first season as a member of the NCAA tournament selection committee. He is grateful that Rose will remain the Cougar coach for several more seasons.
“He’s our basketball coach. He is the face of our program. He is the program,” Holmoe said. “Those players on the court, on game day, it’s our coaches and players together. We’ve had a lot of players come and go, and Dave’s been here for 10 years. He’s hopefully going to be here for 15 and more. Those announcements came together because I look at them being one in the same.”
DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME: Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, BYU (21-8, 11-5) is No. 3 in the West Coast Conference standings, behind second-place Saint Mary’s (20-7, 12-4) and ahead of fourth-place Pepperdine (16-12, 9-8).
The Cougars need to split this weekend’s road trip to ensure at least the No. 3 seed in the WCC tournament in Las Vegas, which tips off March 5 at Orleans Arena.