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Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Exhibition Win Over Ottawa

Nov 2, 2022, 10:23 PM
BYU Basketball, Jaxson Robinson...
BYU basketball guard Jaxson Robinson was a standout during the exhibition win over Ottawa. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball begins the 2022-23 season with an exhibition victory over Ottawa. The Cougs rolled 109-69 over the NAIA squad.

Here are some takeaways from BYU’s blowout win.

Spencer Johnson earns his first start

It was an exhibition, but there was no reason to think that guard Spencer Johnson won’t continue in the starting lineup. Johnson had an excellent outing scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. But more impressive was what Johnson did on the defensive end.

Johnson finished with six steals in the game. Giving flashbacks of his pickpocketing abilities against Pepperdine two years ago in the WCC Tournament.

Johnson put a lot of work into his game and his body this season. As a result, he gained 18 pounds and is playing with a lot of confidence.

After the game, Johnson said it’s not about who starts a game but instead, who finishes. But it’s still noteworthy that Johnson has worked his way into the starting lineup. He deserves to be there to open the season on Monday.

Jaxson Robinson has star potential

Look, Jaxson Robinson is a young player. He just completed his first game at BYU. But it’s hard to deny how much potential he has. He wasn’t on the court at Arkansas due to a lack of talent. Instead, it was primarily due to an experienced Razorback squad that didn’t pose many opportunities to earn minutes as they advanced to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament.

BYU got a steal in Robinson, who is seizing the opportunity to earn a significant role for the first time in his collegiate career.

A former Top-100 recruit, players like Robinson, are what BYU will need to compete in a loaded Big 12 in the future.

Fousseyni Traore puts together the quietest double-double.

Traore has been battling a hamstring injury that coaches have monitored throughout practices. He started at the center spot for BYU on Wednesday and put together a quiet 10 points, 11 rebounds performance that, at first glance, you would have thought he had a quiet night. But, even in games where you think Traore isn’t at his peak abilities, he’s still a walking double-double.

Glimpses of Noah Waterman and Braeden Moore at the five

Coming into the exhibition, I was curious to see how often BYU would use Detroit Mercy transfer Noah Waterman at the five. Waterman is the only player among the key rotation players that is above 6-foot-9. Waterman stands at 6-foot-11, but he’s primarily a stretch four that enjoys playing on the perimeter.

During the second half of the blowout over Ottawa, we got a glimpse of Waterman at the five. In his BYU debut, he finished with seven rebounds.

Waterman is intriguing on the perimeter. He had three assists and showed off the smooth handles for a guy that his entire life has primarily played on the guard line.

Along with Waterman, we also saw in the final minutes, true freshman Braeden Moore at the five. Moore is a heralded high school signee from Nashville, Tennessee. When he signed with BYU, one of the unique attributes with Moore was the fact that he doesn’t have a specific position. He embodies positionless basketball.

During training camp, due to BYU’s lack of size on the roster, Moore has been getting practicing at the five. However, if BYU digs deep into their rotation, Moore could be a guy that poses some mismatch problems as he showed off his three-point shooting ability.

Tempo and shooting the three is BYU basketball

BYU basketball has a rich tradition that spans decades. At the core of the program is having success on the offensive end of the floor. When BYU brings high tempo and puts up three-pointers, it’s how BYU should always pull. We saw glimpses of that on Wednesday night in front of 7,315 fans.

This team has its limitations. After a blowout win over an NAIA squad, no one is looking at this team as an NCAA Tournament squad. But it’s not unreasonable to expect a more enjoyable product on the floor than last year. They are starting from the ground up and still looking to find themselves.

At a minimum, it should be a fun journey along the way.

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.

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Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Exhibition Win Over Ottawa