PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It seems as though no game in the West Coast Conference this year is going to be easy this season, even against a team that has never won in Provo.
BYU fell behind early to Portland, before pulling away late in the second half for a 78-65 win, keeping the Pilots winless at the Marriott Center in 14 tries.
Te’Jon Lucas led the Cougars with 16 points and seven assists, while Seneca Knight poured in 14 points off the bench.
Foussenyi Traore celebrated his birthday by shooting 6-of-6 from the field, recording his second double-double in a row with 13 points and 10 rebounds, also adding a block and four assists.
Caleb Lohner added 13 points, including a thunderous two-hand dunk with 12 minutes left to give BYU a 10-point lead.
“I think we have a relentless commitment to go and win,” Lohner said. “Whether we’re blowing a team out by 30 points, or whether we’re losing by 30, or whether we’re losing by 30 in the first half, the fight is going to be the same.”
BYU has now won seven of its last eight games, improving to 17-4 on the season, 5-1 in the West Coast Conference.
“A lot of what we do is figuring stuff out,” head coach Mark Pope said about his team’s strong second half performance. “It just is. Our guys are really good at it, our staff is really good at it. Our guys also wear people down. We’re playing deep and so we get to wear people down.”
“This was a great game, a great win for us,” Knight said. “We went out there and had fun,” said Seneca Knight, “We had each others’ backs out there tonight. We know there’s going to be frustration every game, but we have to go out there and get the job done and have fun doing it.”
Tyler Robertson had 15 points for the Pilots (10-9, 1-3). Chris Austin added 11 points. Moses Wood had 10 rebounds.
BYU heads out the road next to take on Santa Clara on Thursday and Pacific on Saturday.