Williams’ 21 points paces BYU to 87-61 win over San Francisco on Senior Night
PROVO, Utah — Rudi Williams scored a team-high 21 points with a career-high 15 free-throw makes as he helped BYU cruise past San Francisco in an 87-61 win on senior night at the Marriott Center on Saturday.
“Tonight was a big win, it was good to get out of this little funk we were in," Williams said. "All week we watched film of the last trip when we went up to San Francisco and the thing that we noticed was that they beat us to all the 50-50 balls, they were tougher than us, they dove on the floor and we didn’t. Shoutout to Coach Fennell, it was his scout, he made sure that we made those adjustments to be more physical. We played tough tonight, got more offensive rebounds and we won the fight.”
Williams’ 21 points pulled him over 1,000 for his Division I career. The senior from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada also added seven assists to his scoring output in his BYU home finale.
Fellow senior Gideon George scored 12 points to go along with six rebounds and a block. Fousseyni Traore recorded his eighth double-double of the season and 17th for his career with 17 points and a season-high 14 boards.
Jaxson Robinson gave BYU four double-figure scorers with his 12 points and three steals.
The Cougars dominated San Francisco with a wide disparity in almost every statistical category.
BYU shot 52.0 percent from the field while holding the Dons to 36.0 percent. The Cougars’ 30 field goal makes came through 22 assists. BYU allowed a mere 18 San Francisco field goals on the night, only nine of which were assisted. The Cougars held the upper hand from distance as well, making 45.0 percent of their 3-point attempts with the Dons at just 20.0 percent.
BYU’s paint presence proved suffocating as well. The Cougars grabbed 42 boards to the Dons’ 22, including a 13-6 advantage on the offensive glass.
Both teams traded baskets to begin the game with USF keeping things close on trips to the free throw line. The turning point came with 5:55 to play in the first half as BYU turned a four-point lead into a 13-point edge at the break.
George began the run for the Cougars with a physical score in the paint. Spencer Johnson scored next with a corner jumper off an inbound pass. Another George lay-in moments later gave BYU a 30-22 lead while the Cougar defense had forced the Dons to over three minutes without a field goal. Khalil Shabazz attempted to answer the BYU scoring spurt with a 3-pointer but Robinson fired right back with one of his own to preserve the Cougars’ eight-point edge.
A USF shot clock violation along with free throw makes from Williams and a transition trey from Robinson pushed BYU to a 38-25 lead in the closing moments of the half.
The Cougars headed to the locker room up 40-27 and didn’t let up after the break. Robinson, George and Williams kept the BYU offense firing on all cylinders in a 10-0 run to start the half. USF would twice come within 13 but Williams reliability at the charity stripe and another game-ending 10-0 run delivered BYU the 87-61 win.
With the conclusion of the regular season, BYU now prepares as the fifth seed in the 2023 University Credit Union West Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada March 2-7. The men’s first and second rounds will be played March 2-3 with games both days at 6 and 8:30 p.m. PST on BYUtv. The final three rounds of the tournament begin March 4 with games on ESPN2.
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