BYU COUGARS

BYU Closes Out Diamond Head Classic With Christmas Win Over Liberty

Dec 25, 2021, 7:02 PM

BYU Basketball - Fousseyni Troare...

HONOLULU, HI - DECEMBER 22: Fousseyni Traore #45 of the BYU Cougars gets the rebound and the put back during the 2021 Diamond Head Classic against the South Florida Bulls at the Stan Sheriff Center on December 22, 2021 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

(Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball closed out the 2021 Diamond Head Classic with an 80-75 win over the Liberty Flames.

The victory for BYU gives the Cougars their second victory on the islands and a 3rd place finish in the tournament. BYU ends the Christmas tournament as one of three teams with two wins in Honolulu. The Championship Game between Stanford and Vanderbilt, the team that beat BYU on Thursday, had to cancel their title game due to COVID-19 issues in the Cardinal program.

Through the first two games at Diamond Head, BYU had issues with turnovers. However, that wasn’t a problem for the Cougars on Christmas Day, as they only committed ten turnovers against a competitive Liberty squad.

Fousseyni Traore gets his first career start

After the loss to Vanderbilt in the tournament’s semifinals, BYU coach Mark Pope vowed to get things fixed so it wouldn’t happen again. So he made some changes to his starting five.

Atiki Ally Atiki moved to the bench and Fousseyni Traore stepped in at center in his first career start. The freshman Traore put together one of the best games of his BYU career with 19 points and 13 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

This was a tightly contested game for all 40 minutes. BYU built a game-high lead of nine points at 67-58, but Liberty wouldn’t go away easily. Especially with star guard Darius McGhee leading the way for the Flames. On Thursday, McGhee poured in 41 points against Stanford. He had another big night against BYU scoring a game-high 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field.

BYU basketball delivers a team-wide win

Liberty cut the deficit to three an additional five times after gaining the game-high advantage, but BYU had a team-wide effort to finish strong. The Cougars made five of their last seven field goals to lock up the victory.

BYU guard/forward Trevin Knell scored 15 points and Te’Jon Lucas poured in an additional 11 points to go along with seven assists. Lucas kept attacking Liberty with a double high pick-and-roll action and it worked as Lucas scored seven of his 11 points in the second half.

With the win, BYU improves to 11-3 on the season and avoids the first string of back-to-back losses during regular-season action in the Mark Pope era (since 2019).

Next Up

BYU closes out the non-conference portion of their schedule at the Marriott Center against the local Division II program Westminster. It will be BYU’s first game at the Marriott Center since December 8. After Westminster, BYU opens WCC play on January 1 against Portland Pilots in the Pacific Northwest.

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

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

baseball...

Brian Preece

Locals In MLB: Oliver Dunn Demoted, One Utahn Stands At MLB’s Highest Level

The Milwaukee Brewers have pulled the plug on the Oliver Dunn experiment, sending Dunn down after he struck out ten times in 24 May at-bats. 

2 days ago

BYU Football, 2024 Road Trips, Puka Nacua...

Mitch Harper

Ultimate BYU Football Trips For Fans During 2024 College, NFL Season

These football weekends are must-see for BYU football fans in 2024.

4 days ago

weber state basketball dillon jones...

Ben Anderson

Jaxson Robinson, Dillon Jones Wrap Up Combine Scrimmages

BYU wing Jaxson Robinson and Weber State forward Dillon Jones wrapped up scrimmage play at the NBA Draft Combine on Thursday.

4 days ago

BYU Women's Basketball, 2024-25 Roster, Amari Whiting...

Mitch Harper

Early Look At BYU Women’s Basketball Roster For 2024-25 Season

Year two for BYU women's basketball in the Big 12 Conference.

4 days ago

BYU Football, Greatest Players, All-Time...

Mitch Harper

BYU Football’s 100 Greatest Players Of All-Time: Nos. 26-50

Installment number three of the greatest players in BYU football history countdown.

4 days ago

Kevin Young, BYU Basketball, Adrian Wojnarowski...

Mitch Harper

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Shared His Thoughts On BYU Landing Kevin Young

ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski shared thoughts during the NBA Draft Combine on BYU's new head coach Kevin Young.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

BYU Closes Out Diamond Head Classic With Christmas Win Over Liberty