BYU Uses Second Half Run To Put Away Scrappy Nicholls State

Nov 19, 2022, 9:22 PM | Updated: 9:40 pm
BYU Nicholls State, Gideon George...
BYU Basketball took down Nicholls State led by 15 points from Gideon George. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball didn’t need late-game heroics to put away Nicholls State on Saturday night. The Cougars did find themselves down at the half, but a big second-half run pulled away from the Colonels.

Here’s a breakdown of how the game played out.

BYU trailed Nicholls State after the first half

BYU committed nine turnovers and struggled shooting the three in the first half against Nicholls State. The Cougars only made 22.7% of their three-point attempts.

Nicholls closed the half on a 6-0 run getting an and-one along with a corner three with seven seconds remaining in regulation.

Jalen White for Nicholls scored a game-high 12 points in the first half.

BYU freshman Richie Saunders was tied for the leading scorer in the first half. The first-year player from Wasatch Academy scored eight points to go along with eight rebounds. Fousseyni Traore, who had a tough performance against Missouri State, put together a nice bounce-back scoring eight points as well.

BYU went into the halftime locker room trailing 40-37.

The second half had some chippiness

Trailing 40-37, both teams went back and forth, exchanging baskets before BYU reeled off an 11-0 run to build a 56-47 lead.

The game began getting chippy when Nicholls guard Lance Amir-Paul grabbed BYU guard Rudi Williams. Initially, referees called him for a personal foul, but after a review, it was reversed to a flagrant one foul.

After BYU built the nine-point lead, the Colonels reeled off a 5-0 run of their own. At the 12:16 mark of the second half, Nicholls guard Micah Thomas and Dallin Hall had a held ball. Thomas gave an extra push to Hall, which Noah Waterman did not like. So he came in to defend his teammate. Both benches, at one point, had to be separated.

Then two possessions later, BYU’s Waterman was called for a class B technical on a flopping call. Class B technical fouls have replaced warnings in college basketball. Waterman fired up a corner three as the shot clock was expiring and fell to the ground.

Nicholls cut BYU’s lead down to 56-53. Then BYU fed the post with Atiki Ally Atiki, who scored six of BYU’s next eight points to build the lead back to double digits.

Atikik finished the night a perfect 4-of-4 from the field with 10 points.

Over the next six minutes of action, BYU held the Colonels to three made field goals.

Heading into the final media timeout of the second half, BYU held a nine-point lead. Then Nicholls guard Caleb Huffman buried a three, bringing the game down to a two-possession contest.

On the other end of the floor, Gideon George, who has only shot 33% from the field entering tonight’s game, knocked down a three of his own.

Nicholls State never let up, contesting until the end. But BYU proved to be too much, especially on the glass. BYU outrebounded Nicholls by 23 boards. In total, BYU grabbed 54 rebounds as the Cougars rolled to an 87-73 win.

Four BYU players finished in double-figures in scoring. Gideon George and Traore led the way with 15 points each.

BYU improves to 3-1 overall on the season and will next be in action against USC on Wednesday, November 23 in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.

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 Mitch and his BYU basketball coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Uses Second Half Run To Put Away Scrappy Nicholls State