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BYU vs. Portland Preview

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If you thought Gonzaga was going to come into town with any trepidation, think again. The Zags didn’t seem rattled at all coming to Provo Thursday night, and were “takin’ care of business” quicker than you can say, “Bachman-Turner Overdrive.” The Zags are an elite team and played extremely well throughout the game, start to finish. Despite BYU making a few runs at them, even closing the gap to 6 late in the second half, the Bulldogs had answers for everything our Cougs threw at them. Nigel Williams-Goss finished with the game high 33 points and TJ Haws finished with 29. But BYU can’t focus on that game and must be ready to get back on track.

Nick Emery’s playing time might be limited again due to the illness he is dealing with. I am anticipating an announcement regarding his health status will be announced before the game.

BYU did a better job by only committing 9 turnovers against a tough Gonzaga defense. An improvement is shooting the ball better. BYU shot the ball an abysmal 36 percent, compared to their season average of 46 percent. It was an off night for the team offensively, in a season that hasn’t been a stand out year in that regard. If the Cougars want to be a factor in the conference, and rise above “also ran” status, they need to be much more consist with their shooting. We can’t always hope and pray for Haws and company to start draining threes to save our collective bacon.

The Cougars stay home for the first meeting of conference play against the Portland Pilots. Portland has struggled recently having lost 9 straight. Portland’s best player, Senior guard Alec Wintering suffered a season ending ACL injury against San Francisco. With Wintering done for the season, sophomore guard Jazz Johnson appears to have stepped his play for the Pilots. He is now averaging 16.2 points a game on the season.

The competitiveness of the Cougars is something that has improved game by game and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. This team knows what they are capable of when they are physical and competitive with whom they are playing.

BYU will need to buckle up the next few weeks with a couple tough games left with one more against St. Mary’s and Gonzaga but first will have to start this final stretch against Portland who is wanting to snap this losing streak. Late game heroics always make for memorable moments, but we need to bring it every game.

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