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Instant Takeaways From BYU’s WCC Opening Win At Pacific

Dec 29, 2022, 9:09 PM
BYU Basketball, Spencer Johnson...
BYU basketball guard Spencer Johnson made his return in a 20-point win against Pacific.

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball cruised to a 69-49 win over Pacific to open up West Coast Conference play.

The win gives BYU their sixth consecutive victory and improves the overall record to 11-5.

Here are some instant takeaways from BYU’s last trip to the Spanos Center in Stockton.

Took care of business on the road against an inferior WCC team

Regardless of the conference, road wins are hard to come by. So when you frame BYU’s blowout win over Pacific in that light, Thursday’s win is a nice victory.

BYU knows firsthand the pitfalls that come with a trip to Stockton. The Cougars lost at the Spanos Center last year. Also, remember that this was only BYU’s second true road game of the season. The first since the second game of the year at San Diego State.

We’ve also learned that you can’t assume any victory with this BYU team. They lost to South Dakota and UVU earlier this month. Plus, they were in a tight home win against Weber State.

Pacific isn’t anything special this season. It’s an overhauled roster with transfers searching for an identity. The Tigers will likely end up in the cellar of the WCC this year.

Regardless of the quality of Pacific, to pull away and blowout a league foe that’s a solid start to BYU’s final WCC season.

Despite the win, there’s a lot for BYU to clean up

BYU coach Mark Pope sometimes apologizes to the media for being a broken record on his goals for this year’s team. It’s pretty simple, “get better every day.”

For a young group that is still feeling itself out, it’s a good goal.

BYU got better on Thursday in the 20-point win over Pacific. But there is still a lot to clean up.

Despite the victory, BYU committed 21 turnovers. Eight of those turnovers were from Fousseyni Traore and Rudi Williams.

There might not be another team in the WCC that BYU can commit 20 turnovers against and come away victorious. The turnover bug was an early-season problem for this team. The last thing they want is for it to reemerge in league play.

Spencer Johnson is the heart and soul of this BYU team

BYU guard Spencer Johnson returned to action for the first time since Thanksgiving on Thursday night. Johnson was sidelined due to a left knee injury.

It was a long-awaited return for Johnson, who was BYU’s best offensive and defensive player in the early part of the season. Typically after an extended period away from the court, you’d expect rust. However, that didn’t appear to be an issue for Johnson.

In his first game back, Johnson played 21 minutes and finished with 15 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

Johnson is the heart and soul of this BYU team. For BYU to be a disruptor in this year’s WCC title race, Johnson has to be available. He showed how important he was on Thursday night.

Jaxson Robinson scores a career-high

Former Arkansas transfer Jaxson Robinson scored a career-high 17 points on Thursday night. His growth during WCC play and over the next 12 months will be fascinating as he is one of the few players in BYU’s program right now, with All-Big 12 potential in his future.

Coming into the season, players and coaches raved about his range. He showed that against Pacific, knocking down four of BYU’s 11 three-point makes.

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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Instant Takeaways From BYU’s WCC Opening Win At Pacific