BYU’s Spencer Johnson Hits Game-Winner, Avoids Upset Against Idaho State

Nov 7, 2022, 9:12 PM | Updated: 9:58 pm

BYU Football, Spencer Johnson, Idaho State...

BYU basketball guard Spencer Johnson hits the game-winner against Idaho State. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball escaped with a win over an upset-minded Idaho State team. The Bengals were a sizable underdog, but that didn’t matter as they took BYU to the wire.

BYU ultimately came out on a top, 60-56. Thanks to a game-winning shot from guard Spencer Johnson in his first career regular-season start at BYU with 11.6 seconds left in regulation.

Here’s a recap of all the action as BYU improves to 1-0 to open the season.

Pregame Notes

  • Players on BYU’s roster that are not suited up: Trevin Knell, Nate Webb, Hao Dong, and Tanner Hayhurst.
  • Lehi Junior High choir sang the National Anthem.
  • BYU fans gave a solid cheer to Idaho State big man Kolby Lee. Lee played at BYU from 2018-21.

Additional Reading

Starting Lineups

BYU (0-0)

  • G – Rudi Williams, 6-3, Grad. (Coastal Carolina transfer)
  • G – Spencer Johnson, 6-5, Jr.
  • G – Jaxson Robinson, 6-7, Soph. (Arkansas transfer)
  • F – Gideon George, 6-6, Sr.
  • C – Foussyeni Traore, 6-6, Soph.

Idaho State (0-0)

  • G – Brock Mackenzie, 6-2, Sr. (Point Loma Nazarene transfer)
  • G – Miguel Tomley, 6-3, Soph. (Santa Clara transfer)
  • F – Jay Nagle, 6-9 (UC Santa Barbara transfer)
  • F – Jared Rodriguez, 6-8, Sr.
  • C – Kolby Lee, 6-9, Sr. (BYU transfer)



Sloppy play highlights First Half

  • 19:23 – First bucket of the season is a three-pointer by Rudi Williams. BYU 3, Idaho State 0
  • 16:13 – Idaho State has to burn a timeout before the media break. BYU is hitting 50% of their shots in the early going and four of the five starters have scored. Kolby Lee for ISU has two missed shots in the early going. BYU 9, Idaho State 0

  • 11:29 – Things have cooled off significantly for BYU. The Cougars have missed their last seven field goals and are on a 4:43 scoring drought. BYU 9, Idaho State 5

  • 9:55 – BYU’s scoring drought continues. Despite the drought, Atiki Ally Atiki shows confidence in rising up from three-point range. He missed it, but shooting the three is going to be part of his game on occasion this season. BYU 9, Idaho State 7
  • 9:00 – BYU’s second unit is on the court with Atiki, Trey Stewart, Dallin Hall, Richie Saunders, and Noah Waterman. BYU 9, ISU 7
  • 8:35 – Noah Waterman ends BYU’s scoring drought that lasted nearly eight minutes. BYU 11, ISU 7
  • 6:57 – Richie Saunders comes up with a big steal and drives to the basket for the score. BYU 13, Idaho State 10

  • 6:43 – Mark Pope gave valuable minutes to his second unit to play through the struggles. It was pretty on the offensive end, but defensively they got in passing lanes and created some deflections and turnovers. Idaho State is already up to nine turnovers. BYU basketball needs a productive, high-energy second unit, so those minutes are valuable to build chemistry. BYU 13, ISU 10
  • 5:27 – Idaho State has its first lead of the game with a Brock McKenzie layup after a turnover by BYU. Idaho State 14, BYU 13

  • 4:50 – BYU guard Jaxson Robinson fouled Idaho State’s Jared Rodriguez. After the whistle was blown, Rodriguez then shoved the former Arkansas guard. The refs called a technical foul on Rodriguez. Rodriguez missed the front end of the personal foul free throws. Then BYU’s Rudi Williams buried the two technical free throws. BYU 15, ISU 14
  • 3:51 – Last media timeout of the first half and BYU is shooting 30% from the field and 20% from three. BYU 17, Idaho State 16
  • 0:39 – Jaxson Robinson’s first basket as a BYU Cougar was a high-flying dunk that had the Marriott Center on its feet. BYU 25, Idaho State 19

  • 0:23 – Robinson then scored on a fastbreak layup. BYU 27, Idaho State 19
  • 0:07 – ISU’s Brock McKenzie buries a three to bring to an end a half that, at times, was hard to watch. BYU 27, Idaho State 22 

Notable halftime stats

BYU basketball shot 40% from the field and only 17% from the three-point line. Both teams combined for 25 turnovers, with BYU committing 11 of those miscues.

Gideon George is BYU’s leading scorer with six points and tied for the lead in rebounds at three.

BYU had 22 of its 27 points in the paint, and 19 of their points were off turnovers.

Second Half

  • 19:44 – Fousseyni Traore attacks the glass off a Gideon George miss for a putback bucket to give BYU a strong start to the second half. BYU 29, Idaho State 22
  • 16:33 – Inbounds play from BYU leads to a turnover and a fastbreak layup for Idaho State. BYU 32, Idaho State 32
  • 15:58 – Brock Mackenzie buries a three-pointer. Marriott Center is silent and BYU’s sloppy play continues. Idaho State 35, BYU 32

  • 15:29 – First media timeout of the second half, Idaho State went into the break on an 11-1 run in 2:15. ISU 35, BYU 32
  • 13:45 – The first free throw attempted by an opponent in front of BYU’s The ROC results in a missed free throw. Idaho State 36, BYU 33
  • 12:35 – Idaho State’s confidence continues to grow after another BYU turnover. Idaho State 41, BYU 35

  • 11:16 – Great inbounds play out of the media timeout to give BYU an easy bucket. Dallin Hall finds fellow RM freshman Richie Saunders. Idaho State 43, BYU 37
  • 10:33 – BYU starts to bring some full court pressure defense, results in a rushed shot by the Bengals.

  • 9:33 – Rodriguez from Idaho State attempts a three that goes in-and-out. The Bengals nearly had a putback, but then Trey Stewart comes up with the rebound and BYU basketball gets out on the run with a Dallin Hall layup. Idaho State 45, BYU 41

  • 8:13 – BYU had three looks at a bucket, but they came empty on a possession. There was a lot of contact. Refs didn’t blow any whistles. The fans at the Marriott Center did not like that. Idaho State 45, BYU 42
  • 7:21 – Fousseyni Traore comes up with a layup heading into the media timeout to get some momentum on BYU’s side. Idaho State 47, BYU 44
  • 5:07 – Kolby Lee missed a wide open three-point attempt. BYU then had a chance to tie or take the lead, Gideon George made a pass that then went out of bounds. Idaho State 49, BYU 47
  • 4:34 – BYU’s full-court pressure creates a 10-second violation on Idaho State. Idaho State 49, BYU 48
  • 3:14 – Jared Rodriguez buries a midrange bucket to give Idaho State a little bit of breathing room from BYU. Idaho State 51, BYU 48
  • Brock McKenzie hits a pair of clutch free throws on a one-and-one. Idaho State 53, BYU 48
  • 2:37 – Gideon George knocks down a three. Officials reviewed his feet and confirmed he was behind the line. It’s only the second made three of the night for BYU. Idaho State 53, BYU 51
  • 2:12 – Idaho State’s Miguel Tomley is called for an offensive foul.
  • 1:05 – Offensive rebound by Traore off a Gideon George miss. BYU 53, Idaho State 53
  • 52.6 – George commits a foul and then Maleek Arington hits a pair of free throws. Idaho State 55, BYU 53
  • 26.6 – Fousseyni Traore pulls down another offensive rebound and gets fouled. He went to the line and knocked down two free throws. BYU 55, Idaho State 55
  •  21.4 – BYU guard Dallin Hall fouled ISU’s Miguel Tomley in the backcourt while bringing full-court pressure. Tomley missed one of two free throw attempts. The ROC and BYU fans were loud during the attempts. Idaho State 56, BYU 55

  • 11.6 – Spencer Johnson, in his first regular-season start at BYU, knocks down a clutch three. BYU 58, Idaho State 56
  • Idaho State’s reverse layup attempt is a miss. The Bengals then foul and Johnson knocks down two free throws to seal the win. BYU 60, Idaho State 56

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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BYU’s Spencer Johnson Hits Game-Winner, Avoids Upset Against Idaho State