The BYU Cougars turned up the defensive pressure late to beat the Portland Pilots 73-62 in the Marriott Center on Saturday night.
Eric Mika led the way for the Cougars with 23 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while Yoeli Childs added a double-double of his own, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
TJ Haws added 15 points while L.J. Rose chipped in with 10 points, five assists and four rebounds as the Cougars improved to 17-8, including 8-4 in WCC action.
Gabe Taylor paced the Pilots with 20 points while D'Marques Tyson managed 13 points in a tough setback.
Why the Cougars won
The defense stepped up and got stops when the Cougars absolutely needed it as the Pilots didn't score from the floor for the last 5:12 of the game.
The turning point
Trailing 61-55 with 4:37 left on the clock, the Cougars went on an 18-1 run to pull out the victory.
What it means
The win gave Dave Rose the 300th of his career as the Cougars' head man. It also keeps BYU in third place in the WCC standings, just one game ahead of San Francisco and Santa Clara.
The stat line won't show just how valuable Davin Guinn was for the Cougars off the bench. He was the catalyst on the defensive end for the Cougars as they shut down the Pilots' offense down the stretch.
He also came up with a huge 3-pointer with the Cougars down six that started the late-game run.
Grading the performances
The Cougars struggled for most of the game. They started out flat and didn't get things going until late.
They had a miserable night from beyond the arc, hitting just 3 of 16 attempts and missed 11 free-throws.
On the plus side, they got to the foul line 39 times and played exceptional defense in the closing minutes.
Mired in a nine-game losing streak, and playing without their best player, the Pilots put up a remarkable fight.
While they had a solid night from the free-throw line — 82.6 percent on 23 attempts — they didn't make enough shots in the second half to hold the late lead.
Three telling stats
All eight players who saw action for Portland had at least three fouls on a night where the team had 32 of them.
The 18.8 percent the Cougars shot from 3-point land was their worst shooting performance from beyond the arc on the season. The 38.9 percent they shot from the floor was just the third time all season that they shot less than 40 percent from the floor.
The 28 makes from the free-throw line tied for the second most on the season for BYU.
The Cougars head out on the road for a Thursday night matchup with the Pepperdine Waves.
The Waves are just 7-17 on the season, including 3-9 in West Coast Conference play following an 82-72 win over Pacific.
Two players to watch for with Pepperdine are Lamond Murray Jr. and Chris Reyes. Murray is one of the elite scorers in the West, averaging 20.7 points on 49.5 percent shooting from the floor, including 41.4 percent from 3-point land.
Reyes is an inside presence who is an efficient scorer and does good work on the backboards. He is averaging 13.9 points on 52.8 percent shooting to go along with 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 33.9 minutes a night.