BYU entered Thursday night’s game against Portland as the better team and left only after reaffirming that fact in the most convincing way possible.
The Cougars handily defeated the Pilots 105-60, improving to 15-4 overall and 6-2 in the WCC.
Here are three keys to the Cougars’ win over the Pilots:
A dominant first half
The Cougars were by far the better team in the first half, particularly on the offensive end. BYU made 20 of 30 shot attempts, good for a shooting percentage of 65.5%. The team was even better from deep, connecting on 7 of 11 attempts from behind the arc. Portland, by comparison, shot 44% from the field and an excellent 53.8% from 3-point range, but paled in comparison to BYU. At the end of one, the Cougars led 52-30.
On an individual level, Gideon George was the standout. The forward finished the half with 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, in his first career start no less. Matt Haarms added nine points and Brandon Averette eight points, and were just some of the nine Cougars who found their way into the scoring column.
Success in the paint
BYU simply outclassed Portland in the paint, specifically on the boards. The Cougars outrebounded the Pilots 46-12, led by George’s game-high 13. Every BYU player finished with at least one rebound, save for Kolby Lee, and five finished with five or more, while no Portland managed to grab more than two rebounds.
In addition to rebounding, BYU lived in the paint on offense, whether it be George, Haarms, Barcello or Connor Harding. The Pilots simply had no answer for the Cougars’ size all night long.
Gideon George. And the other double-figure scorers
George was the best player on the floor, almost from start to finish. He finished the game with a game-high 19 points and the aforementioned rebounds, as well as a game-high two steals and three assists. He also didn’t have a single turnover, made 8 of 12 shots and basically did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. George really could do no wrong for BYU.
On a night like Thursday, though, almost no one could do wrong for the Cougars. Haarms and Brandon Averette each finished with 15 points scored, while Barcello and Harding chipped in 12 points apiece. Multiple reserves had strong outings too, led by Harding, but including Trevin Knell and Spencer Johnson.