Provo • BYU freshman Luke Worthington got his first career start on Saturday night. He also got his first career dunk.
OK, it wasn’t a thing of beauty — Worthington barely pushed the ball over the rim while being fouled — but it counts nonetheless. And he completed the 3-point play for style points.
Worthington started inside against Portland instead of fellow freshman Eric Mika because coaches are keeping Mika off the floor at the start of games to keep him out of foul trouble.
Sure enough, Worthington picked up his second foul with 16:51 remaining in the first half and spent the rest of the half on the bench.
Worthington started in the middle in the place of Josh Sharp, who started there in Thursday’s 73-65 win over Gonzaga.
Junior Anson Winder made his second straight start and fourth start this season, and paid immediate dividends. Winder had 10 first-half points after leading all scorers on Thursday with 17.
Mika didn’t pick up a foul while playing 14 minutes in the first half, and scoring four points.
“I didn’t really mind it,” Mika said Thursday. “I kinda like it. It was nice to kinda see how the game was going, how the flow was for a minute or two, and then be able to go.”
Mika said the other big guys on the floor against Gonzaga got tired after five minutes or so, and he was fresh.
“Teams kinda target me, and try to get me in quick foul trouble,” Mika said. “So that’s what we are trying avoid.”
Haws passes Chatman
With a spinning, turnaround jumper midway through the first half, Tyler Haws passed legendary forward Jeff Chatman for seventh place on BYU’s all-time scoring list Saturday night. The jumper gave Haws 11 points in the game, and 1,826 in his career. Chatman had 1,824 from 1984 to 1988.
It was the 43rd straight game that Haws has scored in double figures, the sixth longest streak in BYU history.
Less than full
After Thursday’s near sell-out against Gonzaga, the Cougars drew a slightly smaller crowd Saturday night for Portland, despite a more favorable tip-off time (7 p.m.). Thursday’s 9 p.m. tip-off drew an announced crowd of 19,136; Saturday’s announced figure was 17,842.
“One of the funnest things you can do in college basketball is to play in front of a sell-out crowd. When your arena holds 20,000 and it is about full, it is pretty good,” BYU coach Dave Rose said after the Gonzaga game.
“And then not only were they there, they were into it pretty well. The students were terrific, and our guys could feel the energy. At times, the adrenaline was really flowing and we wanted to make plays that maybe we weren’t capable of. But we gave it a heck of an effort, and we just kept trying and eventually broke through. A lot of that comes from the energy in the building.”