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BYU Hoping To Sweep Portland, Santa Clara After Disappointing Loss

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU Cougars are hoping to bounce back at home after a disappointing 88-66 loss to St. Mary’s. They will play their first two home games in conference play against Portland and Santa Clara.

BYU is 9-8 overall and 1-1 in WCC play after picking up a 90-87 win in their conference opener against Pacific just before the loss to the Gaels.

The Cougars are 7-1 at home with their only loss coming against Houston on November 24.

Portland Pilots

The Pilots come to Provo with a 7-9 on the year and 0-1 in WCC play with their loss coming to Loyola Marymount. They are 1-5 on the road and have lost the last four games away from home.

Portland is led by sophomore guard Marcus Shaver Jr. with 14.6 points per game on 38 percent shooting from the field. His best scoring output this season was their season opener against Multnomah where he had 23 points and 9 assists.

Sophomore guard JoJo Walker puts up 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game and makes 41 percent of his shots from the field.

Junior guard Josh McSwiggan chips in 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game to round out the three Portland players to average double figures.

Their best rebounder and rim protector is center Theo Akwuba with 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

Portland is coached by former Portland Trail Blazers legend Terry Porter, who is in his third season at the helm.

Since joining the West Coast Conference in 2011, BYU is 14-2 against the Pilots. Both losses were in Portland. The last loss was on January 16, 2016 when Portland won 84-81, BYU went on to lose to Valparaiso in the NIT Semifinal.

The other loss was on January 23, 2014 in triple overtime 114-110. BYU played in the NCAA Tournament that season, losing to Oregon.

BYU and Portland will play at the Marriott Center on Thursday at 7 p.m. on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio.

Santa Clara Broncos

The Broncos are 9-7 overall and 1-1 in the conference but are coming off of a horrific 91-48 loss to No. 7 Gonzaga. They beat San Diego in their conference opener 68-56. Santa Clara started the season losing five of their first six but before the loss to Gonzaga, they won six straight including wins over USC and Washington State. The Broncos are 2-1 on the road.

They are led by sophomore guard Tahj Eaddy with 16.3 points per game on 41 percent shooting from the field.

Sophomore forward Josip Vrankic adds 12.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

BYU is 13-1 against Santa Clara since they became conference opponents. The Broncos only win over the Cougars was on January 26, 2017 when they picked up a 76-68 win.

BYU and Santa Clara will tip-off at 7 p.m. on Saturday and will be broadcast on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio.