Pacific at BYU
When and Where: Saturday, Feb. 9, Marriott Center, Provo, Utah, 9 p.m. EST.
While overtaking Gonzaga for first place in the West Coast Conference is probably a bridge too far for BYU, the Cougars look for a win against Pacific on Saturday night in continuing their bid to stay on the other side of the bracket for the conference tournament.
Tigers trying to climb into middle of pack in WCC
Though Pacific (13-12, 3-7 WCC) is in ninth place, it is almost as close to third-place Saint Mary’s as it is last-place and winless Portland. The Tigers are trying to salvage a split of their two-game road swing following a 78-66 defeat to the Gaels on Thursday night.
Jahlil Tripp named tonight's City of Stockton Human Resources Hardworking Player of the Game. The junior from Brooklyn, N.Y. shot 10-for-18 from the field and dished out a game-high six assists. pic.twitter.com/F7swiGLmmE
— Pacific Men's Hoops (@PacificMensBB) February 8, 2019
Jahlil Tripp scored 23 points and Roberto Gallinat added 20 as Pacific shot 50 percent, but Saint Mary’s did the Tigers two better by shooting 52.2 percent overall and 58.8 percent (10 for 17) from 3-point range. Pacific is 1-4 on the road in conference play, beating only Portland, and three of the four losses have been by 12 or more points.
Gallinat is averaging a team-high 14.7 points, but coach and former NBA star guard Damon Stoudamire does not have a perimeter-oriented team. Pacific is ninth in the 10-team WCC with 153 3-pointers and sixth in 3-point shooting at 34.8 percent. Tripp and Lafayette Dorsey are also in double figures at 11.7 points per game.
Cougars trying to remain best of rest in WCC
BYU’s most likely route to the NCAA Tournament is by either upsetting No. 4 Gonzaga in the WCC tournament or someone else beating the Bulldogs in the semifinals, and the best chance for that to happen is to win enough and finish second to get a bye to the semifinals.
— BYU Basketball (@BYUbasketball) February 8, 2019
The Cougars (15-10, 7-3) remained one-half game ahead of Saint Mary’s for second place after pounding Portland 83-48 on the road Thursday night. TJ Haws scored 22 points while Yoeli Childs added 17 and 11 rebounds for BYU, which forced the Pilots into 20 turnovers and held them to 31.9 percent shooting.
“It was a really important game for us,” coach Dave Rose told BYU’s official website. “We weren’t shooting well but defensively it was as good of 40 minutes than we have played all year as far as our concentration level, our intensity and executing our plan. No matter what group they were all involved.”
Rose’s team has excelled defensively of late, holding back-to-back opponents under 50 points after being overrun for 93 in a 30-point home loss to Gonzaga on Jan. 31. The Cougars, though, are giving up 76.0 points per game on the season — the worst mark in the West Coast Conference.
Childs and Haws are a potent 1-2 scoring punch, averaging 21.0 and 17.4 points, respectively while ranking second and sixth in the WCC. Childs, who has 13 double-doubles, is also averaging a conference-best 9.6 rebounds.
Haws and Childs combined for 37 points while Jahshire Hardnett added 17 off the bench as BYU held off Pacific 90-87 in northern California last month. The Cougars are 8-3 against the Tigers since joining the WCC in 2013, including a 4-1 mark at home.
- 5-2 ATS in its last seven home games.
- 13-5 ATS in its last 18 games as a home favorite.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five home games vs. teams with a sub-.500 road record.
- The under is 6-0 in its last six games vs. WCC opponents.
- The under is 4-0 in its last four games as a favorite between 7-12.5 points.
- The under is 5-1 in its last six home games.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven road games.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven road games as an underdog between 7-12.5 points.
- The road team is 1-4 ATS in the last five games between the teams.
- The under is 4-1 in its last five road games vs. teams with an above-.600 home record.
- The under is 7-2 in its last nine games vs. WCC opponents.
- The under is 5-1 in its last six games following a straight up loss.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Though BYU has lost twice at home this season, its two losses came to a top-five Gonzaga team and to a Houston team currently ranked 12th in the country. The Marriott Center is still one of the more underappreciated venues for home-court advantage, and the Cougars have otherwise delivered there with nine double-digit victories among their 11 wins.
It is also hard to trust a Pacific team that counts Portland as its lone road win while being held to an average of 54.6 points in WCC play on the road.
Prediction: Pick: BYU -11.5
Full-Game Total Pick
A pick based on the current defensive form of BYU, which has allowed 97 points combined in its last two games after being shredded for 93 by Gonzaga as well as Portland’s road form in conference play. The teams had played to 145 and under in the three meetings before last month’s track meet, and the hedge is it stays below 140 as the Cougars control the tempo and contest.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 143 points
Half-Time Side Pick
Again, this is a pick against Pacific given its road form save its win versus Portland. The Tigers have trailed by six or more points at halftime in three their four WCC road losses and also trailed by 12 after 20 minutes in the first meeting between the teams.
Take away the losses to Gonzaga and Houston, and BYU has led at intermission in nine of 11 home games. The Cougars have led by six or more in three conference home games, and their improved defense offers confidence they can make it four.
Prediction: Pick: BYU -6.5
Half-Time Total Bet
A bit of a contrarian pick considering the teams played to an 86-point first half in northern California in the first meeting, but this is trusting BYU’s improved defense in recent games and Pacific’s road form. The Tigers have scored 34 or less in four of their five WCC road games and 25 or less in three.
The Cougars also have played to 66 or less in four of their five conference home games, including 49 last time out.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 67 points