Takeaways From BYU’s Missed Opportunity At San Diego State

Nov 12, 2022, 12:20 AM
BYU Basketball - Mark Pope - WCC Tournament...
BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope reacts as the Brigham Young Cougars play the San Francisco Dons in the 2022 West Coast Conference men’s basketball quarterfinals at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 5, 2022. BYU lost 63-75. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Expectations were low for BYU basketball heading into a road game against No. 19 San Diego State. But after having a 10-point in the second half, Friday night’s game at Viejas Arena is a missed Quad One win opportunity.

Here are some takeaways from BYU’s 82-75 setback to the Aztecs.

Turnovers sunk BYU

BYU head coach Mark Pope said in his postgame interview on the BYU Sports Network, “We’re stuck on this little turnover trend that’s been super painful for us.”

It was painful for BYU. The Cougars committed 20 turnovers to SDSU’s 10 total. San Diego State scored 17 points off BYU’s turnovers. BYU only scored nine points off SDSU’s 10 turnovers. That’s a difference of eight points; BYU lost by seven.

Is the new-look pace of BYU’s offense causing the turnovers?

BYU’s top two point guards, Rudi Williams and Dallin Hall, combined for 12 turnovers. Williams had eight.

If BYU takes care of the ball, they probably win on Friday night.

BYU showed well in a measuring stick game

After a clunker performance against Idaho State to open the season, expectations were low for BYU heading to San Diego State. It was a measuring stick game to see how this “new and young” group would perform against a nationally-ranked team.

By all accounts, the effort and the fight were there. Unfortunately for Pope and his quad, BYU couldn’t finish the job.

Spencer Johnson is emerging as a clutch shot maker

Spencer Johnson has become one of the best stories on this young BYU team. After adding 18 pounds to his body and working hard with strength and conditioning coach Eric Schork in the offseason, Johnson is emerging as a clutch bucket-getter for this BYU team.

That’s something probably very few people had on their BYU basketball bingo card entering the season.

One stretch in the second half after San Diego State earned their first lead. Johnson knocked down a quick three to put BYU back on top. Then he proceeded to hit another three field goal attempts.

BYU’s bench wasn’t much of a factor

Only three players that played for BYU finished with a positive plus/minus in the loss. Those three were a trio of starters Fousseyni Traore, Spencer Johnson, and Jaxson Robinson. At the midway point of the second half, it was the five starters were positive in that metric, and all five bench players were in the negative.

BYU’s bench finished with 13 points, but they shot 4-of-14 from the field. The second unit has to bring a spark if BYU wants to pull off some wins.

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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