Share this story...
Latest News

Three Positive Takeaways From BYU’s Loss Against Kansas

LAHAINA, HI - NOVEMBER 26: Kolby Lee #40 of the BYU Cougars and Ochai Agbaji #30 of the Kansas Jayhawks jockey for position during a free throw attempt during the second half at the Lahaina Civic Center on November 26, 2019 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s no surprise that BYU lost to the No. 4-ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Especially when you consider BYU played without their star player in Yoeli Childs.

Within the loss against one of college basketball’s blue blood’s, BYU showed promise in areas of the game that have to get people excited about the impact head coach Mark Pope is making on the Cougars program.

Here are my three positive takeaways from BYU’s 71-56 loss against No. 4 Kansas in the Maui Invitational.

#1 BYU can play defense

Before the season started, head coach Mark Pope told members of the local media that his team’s defense was further ahead than the offense. Through seven games, it’s pretty clear, BYU can “D up” against teams, including national powerhouses like Kansas.

BYU limited Kansas to only 29 points in the first half and the Jayhawks only shot 22-percent from three.

Throughout the West Coast Conference era (since 2011), BYU has been known as a program that can light up a scoreboard. But the defense has been viewed as a liability. Pope has this BYU team playing even hard, even in games where they were clearly outmatched from a personnel standpoint like they were on Tuesday night.

#2 Kolby Lee has been a pleasant surprise

BYU center Kolby Lee drew some criticisms for his play against San Diego State and Southern Utah. But since those two games at home, he’s been really good. Against Kansas, Lee had 13 points on 6-8 shooting from the field.

Lee needs to continually improve on the glass and help the mob mentality at pulling down more rebounds, but he was facing the best frontcourt he will see all year in Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike and David McCormack.

The way Lee operates might not be visually pleasing, but it has done a nice job in relief of the suspended Yoeli Childs. When Childs comes back, BYU will suddenly have a lot more options in the frontcourt because of the confidence Lee has gained from this experience.

#3 Not going to see a better team than Kansas this season

I know BYU is in a conference with the Gonzaga Bulldogs, and believe me, the Zags are head and shoulders better than everyone in the WCC right now. But I would argue that Mark Few’s teams aren’t as deep and athletic as the one Bill Self trotted out on the floor against the Cougars in Maui. The speed from players like Devon Dotson is not seen in the West Coast Conference, even on the Zags’ talented rosters.

BYU can take away some valuable lessons from their loss against Kansas and build on that moving forward. They were many open shots against the Jayhawks, they just couldn’t knock them down to keep the game closer. But it was a game that can leave BYU feeling good about the way they are playing through nearly one month of the season.

BYU closes out the Maui Invitational tonight at 9:30 p.m. (MT) against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

BYU Cougars Schedule - CFB
11/16/2019
Bengals
Cougars
11/23/2019
Cougars
Minutemen
11/30/2019
Cougars
Aztecs
12/24/2019
Cougars
Rainbow Warriors
BYU Cougars Schedule - CBK
01/09/2020
Cougars
Gaels
01/11/2020
Pilots
Cougars
01/16/2020
Toreros
Cougars
01/18/2020
Cougars
Bulldogs
01/23/2020 @ 7:00 pm
Cougars
Tigers
01/25/2020 @ 2:00 pm
Cougars
Dons
01/30/2020 @ 5:30 pm
Waves
Cougars
02/01/2020 @ 7:00 pm
Gaels
Cougars
02/06/2020 @ 7:00 pm
Cougars
Pilots
02/08/2020 @ 6:00 pm
Dons
Cougars