Toolson gets rolling to power BYU basketball to rout at Portland

(Colter Peterson, KSL, File)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — If BYU wing Jake Toolson can do what he did Thursday night on an injured ankle, imagine what he can do with two good ones.

The senior guard who was a game-time decision for head coach Mark Pope poured in 22 points — including six 3-pointers — to lead BYU to an 85-54 win at Portland to improve to 7-3 in West Coast Conference play Thursday night at the Chiles Center in Portland, Oregon.

Yoeli Childs added 22 points and eight rebounds for the Cougars (18-7, 7-3 WCC), and Alex Barcello added 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting with three 3-pointers. TJ Haws supplied 7 points, eight assists and three rebounds for BYU, and teammate Kolby Lee had 6 points to go along with 10 rebounds.

“This cat is a freak. He’s a 100 percent, certifiable freak of a shooter," BYU coach Mark Pope said of Toolson, his fellow Utah Valley transfer from the offseason. "And his leadership is off the charts right now.

“What these guys are doing is really special.”

Toolson, who heroically played 36 minutes on an injured ankle last Saturday against Saint Mary’s, returned to the Cougars’ starting lineup against the Pilots. The grad transfer senior knocked down a 3-pointer for his 14th straight game to pace the Cougars’ 8-0 run to go up 17-9 midway through the first half, part of a greater 16-5 run to go up 25-14 inside of 10 minutes.

“I was telling him (Toolson) when we were rolling out, ‘I guess you don’t need your ankle to shoot,’” Barcello told BYU Radio.

“Obviously, he was pretty badly injured,” Barcello added. “But that’s just one thing that is inspiring about Jake. He’s going to fight, he’s a dog, and he does it all for the team.

“He’s here for us. It’s a good sign of a great leader.”

Portland pulled within 4, but BYU used an 18-2 run bridging either half to go up by 20, 51-31 on Childs’ 3-pointer just 1:18 after halftime.

The rout was officially on in a game the Cougars led by more than 30 and cruised to the finish line.

“We came out in the second half getting stops, and I think that’s what led us to that big start to finish off the game,” Barcello said. “We have one goal in mind, and I think it’s pretty clear to everybody what we’re striving for.

“We’re not going to let anything get in our way of that.”

JoJo Walker had 12 points to lead the Pilots (9-16, 1-9 WCC), who shot just 28 percent from the field.

"They’re just believing in each other right now," Pope said of his team. "These guys right now have found a space — and we’re far from perfect — but they are finding space for each other and trying to make the right play. We’re actually believing that we can be the No. 1 points-per-possession team in America. You get there by … trying to be forceful and creating for your teammate. I believe we can continue to do that more and more."

Next up

BYU will return home to host San Francisco at 7:30 p.m. MT Saturday. The game will be televised on BYUtv.

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.


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