BYU Takes Down LMU To Advance In WCC Tournament

Mar 4, 2023, 10:36 PM | Updated: Mar 6, 2023, 1:13 pm

BYU basketball is doing everything it can to make its final WCC Tournament appearance memorable.

On Saturday night in the WCC Quarterfinals, BYU took down four-seed LMU 73-63.

Senior guard Rudi Williams led BYU in scoring with 23 points. Williams played at a high tempo throughout the night but never coughed up the basketball committing zero turnovers.

LMU’s Cam Shelton finished with a game-high 27 points, but it wasn’t enough for a Lions squad that shot only 26% from three-point range.

BYU had a great night shooting as they were 52% from the field and 47% from distance.

The victory puts BYU into Monday night’s WCC Semifinal against No. 1 seed Saint Mary’s. BYU lost both regular season meetings against the Gaels, but each contest was close.

Here’s a recap of how Saturday night’s win over LMU played out for BYU.

Tone setting start for BYU in the first half

BYU’s success in the second half yesterday against Portland carried over into the opening minutes against LMU. The five-seed Cougars jumped to a 14-4 lead in the first five minutes of action over LMU.

Rudi Williams started the scoring, and then Jaxson Robinson had a slam dunk to cap off a 12-0 run that had The Orleans Arena roaring.

LMU guard Cam Shelton began to come alive. The All-WCC First Team guard scored 11 points in the first half, putting LMU in a spot to tie the game. Forward Kelli Leaupepe buried a corner to even things up at 27 with 3:14 left.

Then BYU went on another run thanks to the hustle from Richie Saunders. The freshman guard continues to have a great tournament as he came up with a steal that led to an Atiki Ally Atiki bucket at the hoop.

To close out the half, freshman guard Dallin Hall buried a three to put BYU back up by double-digits at the halftime break, 38-27.

Hall had some highlight-worthy threes in the first half. Hall hit three three-pointers, one of which was on a crossover stepback.

BYU shot 68% from the field and 67% from three. At the same time, LMU was only 34% from the field and an abysmal 17% from beyond the arc.

LMU made a run, but BYU held the Lions off

Jaxson Robinson got a pair of easy buckets to open up the half, and it looked like this BYU basketball team was ready to pull away. Then LMU fought back.

Fousseyni Traore picked up two quick fouls, one of which was a head-scratching decision to go over the back. Those fouls brought Fouss to three personals sending him to the bench at the 17-minute mark.

LMU reeled off a 9-0 run to bring BYU’s 13-point lead down to 42-38, forcing Mark Pope to burn a timeout before the first media stoppage.

Then LMU entered the bonus with 14 minutes remaining in the game. First, Cam Shelton missed the front end, then Gideon George scored his first bucket on the other end.

Richie Saunders scored his first points on an old-school three-point play to put BYU back by nine.

LMU reeled off a 6-0 run, and back-and-forth they went, followed by Spencer Johnson hitting a clutch three.

Traore got up to four fouls with nine minutes left. Atiki Ally Atiki stepped in and gave BYU excellent hustle minutes to send the lead up to double-digits again at the under-eight timeout.

Having Fouss on the bench proved to be a non-story. Instead, BYU didn’t let their lead dip any lower than six points, and they gave Traore valuable rest.

LMU’s Cam Shelton fouled out, which was a wrap for the Lions. BYU finished the final eight minutes, only making three field goals, but they capitalized at the foul line.

BYU took down the Lions, 73-63.

BYU basketball moves on to WCC Semifinals

The Cougars will now play No. 1 seed Saint Mary’s on Monday night in the WCC Tournament Semifinals at 7 p.m. on ESPN and KSL NewsRadio.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

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 Takes Down LMU To Advance In WCC Tournament