Trevor Rich | Posted: 16 Feb 2023 | Updated: 2 Mar 2023

BYU falls to Santa Clara 81-74 at home Thursday night

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Spencer Johnson Santa Clara 2022-23
Spencer Johnson Santa Clara 2022-23 Fousseyni Traore Santa Clara 2022-23 Team Santa Clara 2022-23

PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball fell to Santa Clara 81-74 Thursday night in the Marriott Center.

“Super disappointing outcome,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “It was a super disappointing first half. I was proud of the guys for having some fight in the second half. We just have to get better in 100 different ways.”



Rudi Williams led the Cougars in scoring as the senior finished with 20 points, going 7-of-13 from the field, 2-of-3 from three and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Fousseyni Traore reached double figures for the seventh straight game, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season and 16th of his career. 

Trey Stewart finished with a career-high nine points to go along with two rebounds and two steals as the Cougars outscored the Broncos 35-14 in bench points. 

"I am super proud of Trey (Stewart)," said Pope. "He's on the path to becoming a really special player. He did not get any opportunities last year and he has had up and down opportunities this year. He is handling this right and letting it grow him into a really special competitor and he has got a terrific future."

The Cougars took their only lead of the game at 8-6 with a Traore layup on a nice pass from Spencer Johnson. Santa Clara retook the lead at 10-8 before extending the lead to 22-12 on a dunk from Cameron Tongue with just under 12 minutes to play in the first half. 

BYU continued to keep itself in striking distance with a fast break layup as they only trailed by six at the four-minute mark following a pair of free throws from Atiki Ally Atiki. The Broncos closed the first half on a 9-0 run as the Cougars trailed by 17, 47-30, at halftime.

After going 0-of-7 from 3-point range in the first half, Dallin Hall finally connected on the Cougars first 3-pointer at the 16:49 mark in the second half. BYU continued to chip away at the SCU lead as four straight points from Williams and Traore to make it 58-45 at the 14:15 mark. 

Williams hit the first of his two 3-pointers with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation to get the Cougars within 10, 64-54. He would connect on another 3-pointer six minutes later to cut the deficit in single digits for the first time since in the final minutes of the first half, 72-63. 

BYU hits the road Saturday with a trip to Moraga on Feb. 18, to face off against St. Mary's. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. PST on ESPN 2 It can also be heard live on BYU Radio Sirius XM Radio app or KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.

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