BYU basketball: Cougars get 20th win, beat Portland 89-72
Provo • Matt Carlino prides himself on having more fun playing basketball than anyone else on the floor.
Suffice it to say, the BYU guard was a happy camper on Saturday night. Making eight 3-pointers one shy of a school record set by Jimmer Fredette in 2009 and scoring 30 points will do that for a guy.
Behind Carlino's heroics off the bench and 19 points from second-game starter Anson Winder, the Cougars buried injury-riddled Portland 89-72 in front of 17,842 at the Marriott Center to stay in second place in the West Coast Conference race.
BYU improved to 11-5 in league play, 20-10 overall, with just one regular-season game left to play, next Saturday at San Diego. The win also gave the Cougars a measure of revenge for that 114-110 loss in triple overtime they suffered Jan. 23 at Portland, which played without starters Kevin Bailey and Alex Wintering this time.
"I feel like we are getting better at this point in the year," said Carlino, who was 8 of 13 from 3-point range and 11 of 16 from the field, getting to 30 points without attempting a free throw. "We are all just having fun and really enjoying playing together. We know there is not much basketball left, so it is fun to just play."
The Cougars shot 56 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range (10 of 20) and held the Pilots to 39 percent shooting. The only downers for BYU were that it was outrebounded 41-35 and shot just 59 percent (13 of 22) from the free-throw line.
"I think our guys are playing together really well, but individually they are all playing well, which is what we have to have," coach Dave Rose said.
Even Luke Worthington is contributing. The lightly-used freshman got his first career start in the ongoing attempt to keep freshman Eric Mika out of early foul trouble, and responded with five points in 12 minutes.
Making his second start and fourth this season, Winder made a case to keep his newfound role with 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He's suddenly a WCC Player of the Week candidate, after recording 17 points in Thursday's big win over Gonzaga.
"These last two games, he's been terrific, and has given us a huge lift," Rose said, not committing to whether or not Winder will hold on to his starting role next week. "Hopefully, we can keep that going."
The Cougars won despite a second straight off night for leading scorer Tyler Haws, who still had 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting and contributed five assists, a season-high.
"I mean, Tyler is such a threat, he commands so much attention, so it is good that other guys are stepping up and it is hard to guard five guys," Carlino said. "So, if we can have everyone clicking at the end of the year â¦ that's good for us, because he always will."
The Cougars led by as many as 25 points in the second half after taking a 46-33 lead at the break.
Carlino was the offensive catalyst in both halves, and punctuated his effort with a two-handed dunk in the second half.
"It felt good, I wanted that," he said.
As for his final 3-point attempt with around three minutes left that rattled out, Carlino said he didn't know it would have tied Fredette's record.
"I would have made it if I had known," he joked. "I didn't know. I was just playing out there."
R Matt Carlino makes eight 3-pointers and scores 30 points off the bench.
• Anson Winder scores 19 points in his second straight start.
• Thanks to Carlino, BYU goes 10 of 20 from 3-point range.