BYU Drops Fourth Straight In Close Loss At No. 17 Saint Mary’s

Feb 18, 2023, 10:35 PM | Updated: Feb 21, 2023, 3:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The last regular season chapter of BYU/Saint Mary’s as WCC rivals is a wrap.

No. 17 Saint Mary’s held off another upset bid from BYU, thanks to guards Logan Johnson and Aidan Mahaney. Saint Mary’s defeated BYU in Moraga on Saturday night, 71-65.

Logan Johnson scored a game-high 27 points, and Mahaney chipped in 16 as the Gaels maintained first place in the WCC.

The loss drops BYU’s record to 6-9 in the WCC and guarantees that the Cougars will finish the season with a losing record in their final year in the WCC.

BYU battles back from Saint Mary’s runs in the first half

If only BYU had the effort, they showed in Moraga on Saturday night against Santa Clara on Thursday. BYU started the game against the Gaels on Saturday with a three from Spencer Johnson.

Saint Mary’s then went on a run, taking an eight-point lead. Then BYU fought back, led by Johnson, who had 12 points in the first half.

BYU had a one-point lead at 21-20. Then their offense went cold. Over the next six minutes of game action, BYU didn’t make a field goal until Johnson knocked down a jumper with 2:19 remaining.

Rudi Williams closed the first half with a buzzer-beater three to send BYU into the locker room down 33-27.

Gaels guard line pulls away

At the first media timeout of the second half, Noah Waterman knocked down his second three of the night after a nice setup from Dallin Hall to put BYU down by only two.

Then Saint Mary’s freshman sensation began coming to life on the offensive side. Aidan Mahaney, who hit the game-winner over BYU in Provo last month, scored nine points in the first seven minutes of the second half.

Mahaney dished out a fastbreak assist to Logan Johnson in stride. Then one possession later, he buried a three that forced Mark Pope to burn a timeout before the under-12 timeout as the Gaels sent their lead back to seven points.

SMC veteran Logan Johnson then began taking over the game. First, he had a slam dunk on the baseline, bringing the crowd to its feet. Then he hit three more field goals to put the Gaels up by 13.

BYU made a run again, cutting the deficit to three thanks to back-to-back triples from Richie Saunders and a corner three from Dallin Hall as the shot clock expired.

Fousseyni Traore trimmed Saint Mary’s lead to one with a bucket at the hoop. Then Logan Johnson knocked down the Gaels first field goal in six minutes to put them back by three.

Late-game decision-making haunts BYU once again with miscues. Mahaney then capitalizes with a dagger three to put SMC up for good.

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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’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Drops Fourth Straight In Close Loss At No. 17 Saint Mary’s