Instant Takeaways From BYU’s 89-61 Win Over LMU

Feb 2, 2023, 9:20 PM | Updated: 10:07 pm

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball ends their three-game losing streak by rolling through LMU, 89-61.

It was a wire-to-wire victory for the Cougars, who improved to 15-10 overall and returned to .500 in WCC play at 5-5. BYU is now 10-3 at the Marriott Center.

Here are some takeaways from BYU’s blowout victory over a Lions squad that defeated BYU last month in Los Angeles.

Season-low for turnovers

BYU basketball limited their turnovers to single digits against LMU. In total, BYU finished with only seven giveaways on Thursday. Four of those seven turnovers came late in the first half when the Lions made a 10-0 run.

BYU’s two point guards, Dallin Hall and Rudi Williams, finished with a combined zero turnovers.

Fousseyni Traore puts together a double-double

There were some questions about sophomore big man Fousseyni Traore’s availability entering Thursday night. According to BYU head coach Mark Pope, Traore got “dinged up” in Monday’s practice.

Traore didn’t seem too fazed. The sophomore standout recorded the 14th double-double of his BYU career. A double-double that was uncharacteristically announced over the Public Address system at the Marriott Center.

Traore finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds. All 11 of his points came in the first half.

It didn’t hurt that LMU’s 7-foot-1 Rick Issanza was sidelined. The Lions big man made things difficult for Traore in last month’s loss in LA.

Throughout the season, Traore hasn’t always been at full strength. Then you pair up injuries with playing out of position. There are plenty of reasons to think Traore would have a sophomore slump. He’s still averaging 12 and seven on a nightly basis.

Jaxson Robinson provides lift off the bench

For the first time this season, Arkansas transfer Jaxson Robinson came off the bench on Thursday. Robinson was one of the three players that missed last Saturday’s game due to suspension against Saint Mary’s.

The calm, collected Robinson didn’t appear fazed by the role change. He scored 10 points off the bench in 13 minutes of action in the first half.

He finished with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field.

Eighth different starting lineup

With Robinson coming off the bench, Mark Pope rolled with his eighth different starting lineup this season. Then, BYU’s starting five was Dallin Hall, Spencer Johnson, Gideon George, Noah Waterman, and Traore.

The starting five put together a strong start that set the tone for the entire night.

BYU’s defense brings it every night

There isn’t much you can bank on with this year’s BYU team on a nightly basis. But one thing you can count on is the execution on the defensive end.

LMU came into the Marriott Center with the fourth-best offense in the WCC by KenPom’s advanced metrics. However, BYU stifled the Lions, limiting them to 38% from the field and 36% from three.

LMU star guard Cam Shelton finished with 15 points, but it was a hard-earned 15 in 30 minutes of action. BYU’s guard line did not give Shelton anything easy throughout the evening.

BYU is a top-30 defensive team this season, and Thursday was one of their best performances.

BYU put together a productive night from three

When BYU hits over 40% from three in a game, they could take down anyone in the WCC this season. Coming into the LMU game, many looked at the matchup as a potential tossup. But the difference was from distance.

BYU knocked down 50% from distance as they put together a wire-to-wire win over a Lions squad that won in The Kennel a few weeks ago.

It’s been surprising this season to see the inconsistent play from three. BYU has shooters. Can they find it on a nightly basis? That’s always going to be a big question for this group.

One player that could find his stroke from three in the win was Noah Waterman. Waterman was part of the one-game suspension that caused him to miss the Saint Mary’s game. He finished 0-of-4 from three.

Waterman was one of the top players for BYU from three in non-conference play. However, during WCC action, he has only hit four three-pointers. If BYU can get Waterman to find his shot again from outside, that will be a big lift down the stretch.

When BYU wins in WCC play, they win big

All five of BYU’s victories this season in WCC action have come by double-digits. That bodes well for a squad that will likely be chasing postseason opportunities in March.

LMU was a team that gave BYU headaches in Gersten Pavilion. However, BYU made necessary adjustments and rolled through the Lions the second time. That shows progress and momentum building toward Las Vegas and the WCC Tournament. BYU’s season will be defined in that tourney, and outside of the San Francisco game on the Hilltop two weeks ago, BYU has been competitive or blown out their opposition.

Blowing out a conference foe is always notable because each team knows everything about the other. So that tends to provide close games. Coming up with blowouts shows BYU has the talent to pull away from league foes.

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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Instant Takeaways From BYU’s 89-61 Win Over LMU