Six Cougars score in double figures in 91-81 win over Pepperdine
PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball rode double-digit scoring contributions from six different players to a 91-81 home win over the Pepperdine Waves Thursday night in the Marriott Center. The Cougars shot 50.9 percent from the field, good for their third-highest mark this season, as they improved to 14-7 overall and 4-2 in West Coast Conference play.
“Our guys did a good job staying present and not thinking about all of the other stuff that goes into a game,” said head coach Mark Pope. “One of the gifts of great athletes is that they can stay present in the moment and stay engaged with what their job is.”
Sophomore forward Fousseyni Traore had a game-high 19 points and nine rebounds. He was joined in double figures by Dallin Hall, Spencer Johnson and Richie Saunders, along with Jaxson Robinson and Atiki Ally Atiki.
Hall finished with 13 points and seven assists with Johnson tying a career-high with three 3-points en route to 13 points. Saunders also scored 13 points, making the fourth time the freshman has scored in double figures with Robinson and Atiki Ally scoring 11 respectively.
The Cougars got back to being aggressive on the glass as they outrebounded the Waves 41-23 including a 13-5 advantage on the offensive glass. They also had 25 made free throws on 32 attempts, both season-highs.
BYU took an early 9-2 lead to start the game, with points coming from four different players. The lead grew to double digits six minutes in when Rudi Williams converted a layup to give the Cougars a 14-4 advantage.
Pepperdine committed seven turnovers in the first eight minutes, four of which were BYU steals. The Waves were able to draw closer as the half wore on, however, cutting the lead to five with eight minutes to go. The teams continued to trade baskets from there, with BYU holding a 27-22 lead at the four-minute mark. The Cougar lead went back to double digits less than two minutes later, with Saunders and Traore combining for nine-straight points and a 36-24 advantage.
Hall’s second three of the half and Noah Waterman’s first points gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game, 41-28, at halftime. Traore led all players with 12 points and five boards at the break, with BYU outrebounding Pepperdine 24-13 in the first.
Pepperdine opened the second half on a 10-1 run in the first two minutes to only trail by four, 42-38. Traore answered with five straight points and a block on the defensive end, but the Waves would continue to keep the game close, scoring eight unanswered to bring them back within two.
The Cougars would then go on a run of their own to go up 10 off six points from Ally Atiki, a steal and layup from Hall and a three from Saunders. But another three from Saunders a minute later was not enough to hold off the Waves, as the visitors stormed back to cut the deficit to 68-66 with eight minutes remaining.
Johnson hit the team’s fourth three-pointer of the half before four more Cougars added points to help BYU stay ahead by seven down the stretch. Pepperdine would get as close as three with 2:53 to go, but the Waves never tied the score or took the lead after the game’s first two baskets. Robinson iced the game with a late three and layup, with him and Hall also hitting their free throws to see the Cougars to the 91-81 final score.
Next week BYU heads to the Bay Area for a pair of road games, both of which will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The first is Thursday, Jan. 19 at 8:00 p.m. PST against Santa Clara. Listen to the game with live play-by-play on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143, BYURadio.org/BYU Radio app or KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
BYU men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope announced Friday that Michael Davie has been named the men’s basketball…