Jeffrey D. Allred
PROVO — It’s been five years since BYU joined the West Coast Conference, and from the outset, the Cougars established a reputation for attracting large numbers of their fans to road games at the small WCC venues.
The majority of those BYU fans, of course, are alums and/or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that live on the West Coast. They flock to wherever the Cougars are playing and, in some cases, outnumber the home fans.
Many of BYU’s WCC road games — particularly at places like Portland, where BYU fell to the Pilots last Saturday afternoon, 84-81, at the Chiles Center — sound like a home game due to the high volume of Cougar faithful in attendance.
Most of the 4,852 fans in attendance Saturday in Portland were cheering for BYU.
Going into the contest, the Pilots had been averaging 1,925 fans per game this season. Due to the larger-than-usual crowd, some fans had trouble finding a place to park before tipoff.
While BYU players and coaches frequently express gratitude to their fans for turning out for road games, that support sometimes results in some unintended consequences — like firing up the home team.
Portland guard Bryce Pressley, who scored 21 points last Saturday, had something to prove in front of the pro-BYU crowd at the Chiles Center.
“It’s extra motivation,” Pressley told The Oregonian after the game. “It was probably 70-30 their fans to our fans. Quieting them up a little bit, it felt really good.”
Before the game ended, Portland fans chanted emphatically, "This is our house!"
After BYU’s first visit to Portland as members of the WCC in 2012, a columnist for the Portland school newspaper called out Pilot fans for allowing BYU to take over their gym, saying that Cougar fans “embarrassed” them.
While outnumbered last Saturday, Portland fans were loud and they relished watching their team knock off BYU. After the final buzzer, Portland students rushed the court to celebrate the victory while Cougar fans quietly exited the Chiles Center.
SHARP-SHOOTING: In Portland’s win over BYU, backup guard D’Marques Tyson came off the bench to score 21 points, including 8 of 14 from the field and 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Tyson had been averaging 8.1 points a game this season.
It was somewhat reminiscent of what happened two years ago, when reserve guard Bobby Sharp drilled eight 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 27 points in a 114-110 triple-overtime win over the Cougars. Going into that game, Sharp was averaging seven points per game.
NOT-SO-SHARP SHOOTING: While BYU’s Kyle Davis (6 of 11), Chase Fischer (7 of 15), Nate Austin (2 of 3) and Corbin Kaufusi (3 of 4) shot well last Saturday, four other Cougars did not.
Kyle Collinsworth (4 of 17), Nick Emery (4 of 11), Zac Seljaas (1 of 4) and Jordan Chatman (0 of 5) struggled. They combined to make only 9 of 37 attempts from the floor.
TIP-INS: Austin grabbed six offensive rebounds Saturday to pass Ken Roberts for most career offensive rebounds at BYU with 269 Collinsworth recorded his 29th career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds Fischer’s three 3-pointers tied him for No. 6 all-time with Tyler Haws with 162 career 3-pointers.
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