BYU vs. Portland Game Recap: Pilots Survive Cougars in 3 OT Thriller

Thomas van der Mars led the Pilots past BYU. - USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Haws scored 48 points for the Cougars but a balanced Portland aerial attack proved too much for BYU.

Like Syracuse and the zone defense, Dave Rose's Cougars are known for their run and gun, high scoring offense. While not as renowned, the Pilots are proponents of the up tempo offense as well. So, it isn't a stretch to call a 4-4 tie at the first media timeout unusually low scoring.

With a full strength student section supporting them for the first time since the start of conference play, the Pilots' offense started to click. By the under-12 media timeout Portland had taken a 17-11 lead. Six Pilots scored over the first eight minutes and eight over the first twelve.

Portland used a balanced offense to take the lead but BYU countered with Tyler Haws (22.2 ppg) and Matt Carlino (14.6 ppg). The junior super-scorers netted 16 and 13 points respectively in the first half. Not counting those two, the Cougars went three of nine from the field in the first half.

By the end of the game those two would combine for 73 points.

It's safe to saw they are the reason the Pilots took just a five point lead, 45-40, into the locker room.

The Pilots hit five of their seven three point attempts in the half. In Portland's last home game, January 9th vs. Gonzaga, the Pilots hit five first half threes. They also won that game.

Kevin Bailey hit a three with 18:02 left to play. That gave the Pilots six and all fans in attendance free hot wings. The next possession saw Portland extend the lead to ten, 55-45.

The Cougars could have pulled within two possessions by drawing consecutive fouls on Thomas van der Mars and Korey Thieleke. But, Kyle Collinsworth missed both free throws both times.

Tyler Haws stepped up like he did in the first half, scoring on three consecutive possessions to cut the lead to three 56-53. His two straight three pointers sent the large number of BYU faithful into a frenzy. A "B-Y-U Cougars!" chant circled the Chiles Center as if it was the wave.

The first half flash back continued with Matt Carlino following in Haws' footsteps. He drained two straight three pointers to pull BYU within one, 62-61, with just under ten minutes to play.

The Cougars were playing better basketball than the Pilots in the second half, but they couldn't pull away. Portland's threes kept falling. Bobby Sharp made 8 threes in the game, 7 of which came after the 6:55 mark of the second half. The junior guard kept the lead with the home team. He and Thomas van der Mars would both finish with 27 points on 9-17 shooting.

Over the final three minutes of the half the Cougars' combo of Carlino and Haws proved too much for the Pilots. However, since the Pilots had the lead, BYU's overpowering finish resulted in an eighty-all deadlock.

Ryan Nicholas threw a baseball pass on an inbounds play with 1.4 seconds left. Kevin Bailey caught the ball and put up a deep three before the buzzer but, it fell short and right of the hoop.

Free basketball in Portland!

Maybe it was because it was free, but the quality of the first couple minutes was low. Alec Wintering fouled out and Ryan Nicholas missed two straight free throws two minutes into the extra period.

Fighting for the rebound on the missed free throw, Thomas van der Mars forced BYU to lose the ball out of bounds. The Pilots got an extra possession but couldn't convert. Then, neither could the Cougars. Then, neither could the Pilots. Finally, with just a 1:30 left in the game, Nate Austin scored the Cougars' first field goal.

The final minute was a hectic mix of fouls, airballs and offensive rebounds from the Cougars until Tyler Haws, once again, took over. His three pointer with 12 seconds left tied the game at 91.

More free basketball in Portland!

Maybe it was the foul trouble or maybe it was the sound of the BYU fans drowning out the home crowd, but whatever it was, something sunk the Pilots in the second overtime. BYU came out hot on both ends. The Cougars held the Pilots without a field goal for the first 3:21.

Like the Cougars at the end of both halves and the first overtime period, the Pilots made it interesting over the final minutes. Bobby Sharp and the three point basket made it so interesting that fans were treated to...

More free basketball in Portland!

Like the Pilots in the previous overtime, the Cougars came out completely flat. Matt Carlino was on the bench with cramps and the rest of the team looked equally tired. He missed most of the period before returning with 2:17 left to play.

The Pilots looked tired as well, as they weren't able to score with ease from the field, but they played more aggressive than ever on the defensive end.

Portland scored 11 points in the third overtime, all but two of which came from the free throw line. The two that didn't came off a tip in. It proved to be enough. The Pilots held off the Cougars for their second straight home victory over a team that received first place votes in the WCC preseason coaches poll.

Things don't get any easier for the tired Cougars. A game at Gonzaga looms on Saturday.

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