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BYU Opens Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament Against USC

Nov 22, 2022, 3:48 PM

BYU Basketball, Rudi Williams...

BYU basketball takes on the USC Trojans in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

(Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball opens its Battle 4 Atlantis tournament against the USC Trojans on Wednesday afternoon. The Cougars arrived in the Bahamas on Sunday evening and have settled into the Atlantis Resort.

BYU basketball is no stranger to facing an Andy Enfield USC team in a non-conference multi-team event (MTE). Two years ago, BYU and the Trojans squared at the Mohegan Sun in “Bubbleville” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2020-21 season. USC, led by Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley, rolled through BYU that day to an easy victory. BYU’s Mark Pope is hoping for a different outcome this time around.

BYU basketball takes on another USC team in an MTE

“We faced them a couple of years ago and got drilled. It was really challenging for us at the time. They were so ridiculously long, especially the three, four, and five. But they were also new, and they had youth on their team. They had young stars on their team just like they do now,” BYU coach Mark Pope said, reflecting on the loss to USC two years ago.

Both teams come into this “Feast Week” matchup in paradise with 3-1 records. BYU’s lone setback was against nationally-ranked San Diego State at Viejas Arena. USC is on a three-game winning streak after dropping their season opener against Enfield’s old program, Florida Gulf Coast.

“This [USC] team is not quite as long and may have a little bit more of a veteran presence in Drew Peterson in terms of having been through the program for quite a while and having a ton of success. But they’re good and they have some young talent that you know has not had a chance to burst onto the national scene yet and so they’re going to be a really good team. They are super talented and they are going to be a handful.”

Opportunity at the Battle 4 Atlantis

Pope’s squad is still a young group that is sorting out its identity, as they incorporate more of an up-tempo, fast-paced style of play. The eight-team Battle 4 Atlantis field, which includes defending National Champion Kansas, will be an opportunity to see how much progress BYU has made over the last two weeks.

“We’re so excited to be here to learn more about who we are,” Pope said. “So we’re going to get an unbelievable opportunity to play some of the most elite programs in all of college basketball right now and kind of give ourselves a gauge of where we are and how we need to get better. Then the answer from our heart is we’d like to come win all of the games. I mean, that’s why we’re here. So we’d like to come win these games and we’re going to have to play really, really, really well to do it. The only game that matters of course, is the game tomorrow against USC, but that’s our hope and our ambition is to try and win that game tomorrow.”

Projected Starting Lineups

BYU (3-1)

G – Rudi Williams, 6-3, Sr. (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.

USC (3-1)

G – Boogie Ellis, 6-3, Sr.

G – Reese Dixon-Waters, 6-5 Soph.

F – Tre White, 6-7, Fr.

F – Drew Peterson, 6-9, Sr.

C – Joshua Morgan, 6-11, Jr.

BYU vs. USC

2022 Battle 4 Atlantis

Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Tip-off: 3 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) & KSLSports.com

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

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BYU Opens Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament Against USC