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Matt Haarms Puts Together Perfect Game As BYU Rolls Through Portland

BYU's Matt Haarms scores 23 points in win over Portland Pilots. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah -BYU basketball rolled to its third consecutive victory in WCC play with a 95-67 victory over the Portland Pilots. Forward/Center Matt Haarms scored a BYU career-high 23 points on perfect shooting to lead the Cougars over the Pilots.

Full notes and recap from the BYU victory below.

BYU/Portland Pregame

BYU rolled with the same starting lineup. The Pilots were without their starting shooting guard Isiah Dasher.

BYU guard Jesse Wade who hasn’t played since the USC game in December, was dressed and back with the team. Westminster transfer Brandon Warr was also dressed for the first time this season.

1st Half – Sluggish start to the game

BYU opened the game as expected, jumping out to a 9-3 lead on the Pilots. Then Terry Porter’s squad reeled off a 13-0 run to shock the Cougars, who hadn’t been at the Marriott Center in a month.

Portland’s Latrell Jones hit three three-pointers to put together 11 points in the early going.

BYU then countered with a 14-5 run to regain the lead at 23-21 at the 7:34 mark.

Eight different BYU players scored in the early portion of the half.

Alex Barcello had a relatively quiet first half. The star guard didn’t score his first points until the five-minute mark of the half. He hit a three to put BYU up 29-25.

BYU built up a six-point lead and looked ready to pull away, but Portland continued to answer back and keep things close.

The Cougars had an opportunity to extend their lead as the clock was winding down at the end of the first half. Spencer Johnson missed a jumper, and then Caleb Lohner missed a wide-open dunk at the rim.

Portland’s Jones heaved a wide-open three from 25 feet that hit the iron to give BYU a halftime lead of 37-31.

 

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2nd Half – Welcome to the Matt Haarms Show

BYU doubled its lead before the first media stoppage. Trevin Knell got the scoring started with a three-pointer to open the half, then Spencer Johnson and Alex Barcello knocked down back-to-back three’s.

Forward Gideon George, who was instrumental in BYU’s wins at Saint Mary’s and San Francisco, didn’t check into the game until the 13:18 mark of the second half. Moments after checking into the game, the talented JUCO transfer hit a three for the second consecutive game.

The Pilots, who have lost 34 of their last 35 West Coast Conference games, started to fold to BYU’s frontcourt size. BYU reeled off a 14-0 run.

Portland’s Ahmed Ali ended the 14-0 run with a difficult three-pointer, who had shown a knack for hitting difficult shots all night.

Matt Haarms was the catalyst for BYU to pull away from the pesky Pilots. Haarms put together his best game as a BYU Cougar. The former Purdue big man was a perfect 9-9 from the field, 4-4 from the free-throw line, and he hit his one three-pointer. Haarms left the game after the under eight media timeout. He put together his BYU career-high 23 points and pulled down six rebounds.

Last season, Haarms scored 26 points against Minnesota when he was a Boilermaker.

Haarms’ 23 points are tied for the second-highest scoring output by a BYU player this season, matching Barcello’s 23 against Utah State. The season-high was Brandon Averette, who dropped 30 against Texas Southern.

Late in the game, some players near the end of BYU’s bench appeared in the game after long absences. Jesse Wade got some playing time for the first time since the loss against USC. Hunter Erickson also checked in late in the win. The former Timpview guard had recorded Did Not Play’s in the previous seven games.

Westminster transfer Brandon Warr also got the first game action of his BYU career.

BYU cruised to the finish line to secure their third consecutive victory in WCC play. The win lifts BYU to 12-3 overall on the season and 3-1 in the West Coast Conference.

Portland falls to 6-8 overall and 0-5 in the league.

BYU returns to action on Saturday night against Pepperdine in the Marriott Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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