Back on the road. It would be nice to have a chance to play at home. But that's the way it is. We'll battle through it. These two games we have next weekend are just as important as the two games we just played. —Dave Rose
PROVO — To sum up the weekend for BYU, the Cougars won the game almost nobody expected them to, and they lost the game almost nobody expected them to.
BYU split its road trip to the Pacific Northwest with a thrilling upset of No. 25 Gonzaga Thursday, followed by a disheartening 84-81 setback to Portland Saturday.
For the Cougars (13-6, 4-2), who saw their four-game winning streak end, the road trip isn’t over yet.
BYU visits Loyola Marymount Thursday and Pepperdine Saturday.
“Back on the road,” said coach Dave Rose. “It would be nice to have a chance to play at home. But that’s the way it is. We’ll battle through it. These two games we have next weekend are just as important as the two games we just played.”
Since Dec. 19, BYU has played only two home games and won’t return for a game at the Marriott Center until Jan. 28 when they host Loyola Marymount.
“In college, it’s not a long season, so I don’t think we’re road-weary at all,” said forward Kyle Davis. “But it will be great when we get back to our gym and finish out with (seven of the final 10 games) at home. We’re looking forward to that. But we’ll be looking forward to getting two road wins next weekend.”
One of storylines for BYU over the weekend was its 3-point shooting. The Cougars made only 3 of 17 3-pointers against Gonzaga and 6 of 22 against Portland for a combined 9 of 39 (23 percent) from distance.
Going into the weekend, BYU had made double-digit 3-pointers in its three previous games in wins over Pacific (11), Santa Clara (13) and San Francisco (15).
Against Portland, the Cougars shot 38 percent overall from the field, while the Pilots shot 45 percent, including 10 of 26 from 3-point territory.
Portland’s offense offset the Cougars’ advantage on the boards. BYU outrebounded the Pilots 44-36.
“Portland’s a real physical team. They have one of the best offensive teams in the conference,” Rose said. “We missed a lot of shots. They made big shots. They just made more plays than we did.”
Rose said the troubles that his team had with Portland were similar to the troubles that the Cougars had with San Francisco the previous week.
“Every game creates its own challenges. We knew that this is a team that scores really well. We kind of had the same issues that San Francisco created for us, where they have a point guard that’s really quick and can really score and get the ball to 3-point shooters.”
Portland, which snapped a four-game losing streak, was led by Alec Wintering (22 points), Bryce Pressley (21 points) and D’Marques Tyson (21 points). Tyson did his damage off the bench and the Pilots dominated BYU in bench scoring 32-9.
“It’s tough. Give them credit. They played really well,” guard Chase Fischer, who scored 22 points, said of Portland. “They were really physical with us and they hit a lot of shots. A lot of it was missed defensive assignments for us. They played really well and executed their game plan.”
For the Cougars, it’s back to work. Then they’ll hit the road again.
“We’ll get in the gym on Monday and get practicing,” Davis said, “and we’ll try to make it a great Southern California trip next week.”