Takeaways From BYU’s Top 25 Win Over San Diego State

Nov 10, 2023, 10:14 PM | Updated: Nov 11, 2023, 2:48 pm

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball took down No. 17 San Diego State 74-65 in front of a crowd of more than 15,000 fans.

It was a big win for a BYU team that didn’t have many of those last season as they slogged through a 19-win campaign.

The victory on Friday moves BYU to 2-0 on the year.

Here are some takeaways from the victory.

Buy stock now in Dallin Hall

Dallin Hall showed the growth you want to see from a player who’s been removed from serving a Latter-day Saint mission a whole year. Hall was excellent in the second half for BYU, scoring 16 points in the final 20 minutes of the game.

The former Fremont High star has consistently spoke about wanting to play the best competition in the world. On Friday night against a San Diego State program that experienced the National Championship game last season, Hall rose to the occasion and came through for BYU.

Hall’s sidestep three-pointer was a thing of beauty.

The three-point shot was an area of focus for Hall this season. After one week of play, the early returns would say there’s been a significant jump from last season.

Manhood test: BYU passed

Coming into the game, BYU coach Mark Pope felt this was a matchup that would test the “manhood” of his team. Well, they passed the test.

BYU outrebounded San Diego State 42-32. They were the tougher team than the Aztecs. It was a far different cry from what they experienced last year on Montezuma Mesa.

Even though he didn’t score, Noah Waterman was an example of that toughness. The second-year player for BYU grabbed five rebounds in 19 minutes of action before fouling out.

Fousseyni Traore showed why he is bigger than his 6-foot-6 size. Traore was physical down on the block against SDSU’s Jaedon LeDee and came up big buckets around the basket in the second half despite a slow start shooting in the first half.

It’s another sign that BYU’s decision to pursue roster retention over new faces in the transfer portal is paying off. Since this team has played a lot of minutes with one another, they aren’t overthinking things on the floor anymore. It’s allowing them to get physical off the dribble and down at the rim.

Win that gives BYU basketball proof of concept

I always felt it was silly that the popular take for this BYU team was that they would finish 13th or 14th in the Big 12. Look, that still could happen because you’re a rolled ankle away from being a middle-of-the-pack team to one in the cellar. That’s life in America’s toughest conference.

But Friday night showed that BYU has made a lot of progress from last season. Role players such as Richie Saunders, Trey Stewart, and Trevin Knell provided quality minutes.

BYU won over a Top 25 opponent while trying to figure out how to mesh with heralded transfer Aly Khalifa. Khalifa finished playing only five minutes after two quick fouls in the first half.

San Diego State isn’t as deep as they were last season. The losses of Nathan Mensah, Adam Seiko, Matt Bradley, and others were significant to a team that reached the National Championship Game.

They were down to eight scholarship players at the end of the game.

But that Aztec team will still be near the top of the Mountain West, so they will be in the mix for the NCAA Tournament in March.

It’s a quality win for BYU and proof that this team has the potential to be a tough out on any given night this season.


BYU’s win over San Diego State drops the Aztecs record against BYU in Provo to 4-31. The Marriott Center has been a house of horrors over the years for the Aztecs.

Even San Diego State’s legendary teams struggle inside the Marriott Center. It’s another example of the difficult venue that Provo can be for opposing 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 in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Takeaways From BYU’s Top 25 Win Over San Diego State