For just 4th time during its time in the WCC, BYU basketball boasts 2-0 record

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BYU men’s basketball coach Mark Pope celebrates during the Cougars’ 71-58 win over Portland at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. The Cougars are off to a 2-0 start to West Coast Conference play.


Despite experiencing a number of low points this season, BYU is riding relatively high right now.

The Cougars are 2-0 in the West Coast Conference, and 12-5 overall, and riding a seven-game winning streak. 

“We’re 2-0 for only the fourth time in this league, that’s crazy,” said coach Mark Pope. “In our four years here, this is the second-longest winning streak that we’ve had. This group is so interesting because the guys are still hungry to get better. There’s just so much we can do better, and we can actually get better this year.”

This week, BYU hits the road for games at Loyola Marymount (11-5, 1-1) and San Diego (8-8, 1-1). 

Saturday, the Cougars defeated Portland 71-58 though Pilot forward Kristian Sjolund finished with a game-high 32 points. 

“I’m proud of the guys for fighting and staying true to the cause and staying with the game plan,” said Gideon George, who finished with a team-high 20 points. “Portland’s No. 12 was going off all night and Spencer (Johnson) shut him down, we got multiple guys on him; Noah, Spencer and myself did a good job on him. I am really proud of our team overall.”

Johnson, playing in his second game after coming back from an injury that sidelined him for five weeks, scored nine points against Portland.

Pope is grateful to have Johnson back on the floor.

“It means a lot to us, clearly. We don’t have to call a timeout to teach him, he’s just been there and seen enough that he’s like ‘I know how to play basketball’. The plays he made early in the game offensively are super important as well,” he said.

“Spencer’s been a guy that since the first day here was here, I threw him on the court and then I just didn’t take him off because he was doing such an impactful job off the defensive end as well. Thankfully, for all of us, that’s been the same thing. He hasn’t missed a beat. He’s just going out and playing great basketball.”

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