BYU COUGARS

Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Close Win Over Weber State

Dec 22, 2022, 9:43 PM

BYU Weber State, Gideon...

BYU Cougars' Richie Saunders, left, and Gideon George defend Weber State Wildcats' Steven Verplancken Jr. in Provo on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball defeated Weber State, 63-57. The win improves BYU’s record to 10-5 as they close out the non-conference portion of their schedule.

BYU now improves its all-time record at home over Weber State to 23-0.

Here are some takeaways from BYU’s win.

Block party

BYU finished the night with eight blocks. A couple of the blocks were highlight-worthy.

Early in the first half, Fousseyni Traore came up with a block on a Weber State player rising up for a dunk. Then on the final shot of the first half, newlywed Gideon George blocked a shot at the horn. Then proceeded to make a smooth move by running into the tunnel for halftime as if nothing had happened.

It was the best shot-blocking performance from a BYU team since Matt Haarms was on the squad two years ago.

Noah Waterman has found consistent comfort in his role

The Detroit transfer has come a long way from when the season started in early November. Think back to the San Diego State game; Waterman struggled and lacked confidence on the floor.

Then you watch him on Thursday night against Weber State; he’s an entirely different player. His three-point shooting has always been a strength in his game. But now he’s contributing on the glass. In the first half against Weber State, he had 10 points and five rebounds.

Waterman is getting to the point where that production level is becoming consistent on a nightly basis. So when Mark Pope says that this team will continue improving throughout the season, Waterman is an example of that messaging.

He finished the night with 14 points and eight rebounds in the win.

Three-Point shooting is a roller coaster for BYU

BYU entered the game, shooting 33.1% from three. That was good for 218th nationally. Well, they will be dipping lower after what took place on Thursday night.

BYU was 6-of-24 from three; that’s good for 25%. On the positive side of things, Weber State shot the same percentage and on their 24 attempts. Defending the three was a significant area of focus for BYU coming into tonight’s game; they showed well in that department. But knocking down threes of their own is an up-and-down ride with this year’s squad.

This is surprising because BYU has some quality shooters on the roster. It doesn’t help the cause that two of the best are still sidelined with injuries.

Spencer Johnson is getting closer to his return

BYU starting guard Spencer Johnson went through warmups on Thursday night. He practiced a little bit this week. Johnson sat on the bench and had a DonJoy knee brace over some compression pants on his injured knee.

If BYU could get him back for WCC play, that would be a big boost for a team that continues to gain confidence after hitting a low point losing to UVU a few weeks ago.

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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