Provo, Utah – BYU Basketball defeated the Portland Pilots 71-58 on New Year’s Eve. BYU has won 7 straight and Portland has lost 4 in a row.

Pilots did not have the top two scorers, Tyler Robertson and Moses Wood. BYU improves to his 13-0 record at home against the Pilots.

BYU improved to 2-0 in West Coast Conference play as they focused on the 2023 calendar year. This is the fourth time BYU has started the league game 2-0 in the WCC.

Here are some of Saturday night’s winning points.

Gideon George is BYU’s offensive game changer

Entering Saturday night, senior Gideon George was in a bit of a rut on the offensive side of the floor. He failed to record his double-digit batting average in his final three games at BYU.

George set the pace for a similar result throughout the first half against Portland. But he came alive in the second half because he was a tone-setter in the second half.

George knocked down a pair of corner threes and brought in a 20-point night that included nine rebounds from senior forwards.

When George finds success on the attacking side of the floor, it’s a game changer for BYU. They need him to continue performing at a high level in his offensive end of WCC play.

Atiki Ally Atiki continues adding moves to the game

Progress from BYU big man Atiki Allie Attiki continues to show up in the stretch of the game. In the second half of his win against Portland, Attiki scored eight points from various moves, including an alley-oop and facing a basket at the post.

Attiki showed up at BYU with less than 30 games of organized basketball experience. So his learning curve is still there, but we wanted to see continued growth throughout this season. is. But more importantly, next year’s Big 12.

I missed the first half

In under-four media timeouts, the first half of the Peach Bowl between Ohio State and Georgia outperformed the BYU/Portland game. BYU was trailing the Pilots 21-17 in an error-filled first half.

The Cougars finished the first draw at 26 thanks to Darin Hall’s patented 3 crossover. But in his first 20 minutes he BYU recorded his 12 turnovers.

These BYU mistakes gave Portland 17 of 26 points in the first half. That level of turnover will cost him a BYU game at some point in the rest of the WCC action. In two league games, BYU is averaging his 20 turnovers per game.

The only highlight of the first half was the Portland side. Especially from former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Christian Shorland. Sjolund hit two deep he filled a three and scored a highlight his dunk.

BYU takes charge of basketball in the second half

In the second half of the game, BYU pulled away thanks to better ball security. Although BYU had only seven turnovers on his part (they still need to reduce that number), the offense had a rhythm that led to better execution.

It also helped BYU improve their shooting from 3/20 of the second half as they knocked down 46% of their attempts from deep. Gideon George of his aforementioned lead with his three trays.

New Year’s Eve good atmosphere

BYU rarely plays home games on holidays. Playing a game with bad weather on the drive at 7pm on New Year’s Eve made me wonder what kind of crowd it would be to see BYU play against your average Portland team.

The final announced attendance was 13,793. The BYU fans’ impressive plays livened up the atmosphere in the gymnasium.

In the second half, BYU ROC, which was in short supply due to school holidays, announced one of the blue inflatables. This caused the Portland player to miss two of his free throws.

Solid energy at the Marriott Center to end 2022.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and Cougar Tracks Podcast (apply) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturdays from 12:00pm to 3:00pm) air on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch and his BYU basketball coverage on his Twitter. @Mitch_Harper.

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