Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Complete Win Over Southeastern Louisiana

Nov 15, 2023, 9:02 PM | Updated: Nov 16, 2023, 11:49 am

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball improved to 3-0 after taking down Southeastern Louisiana 105-48.

It was an all-around complete game by BYU defeating an SLU team that was competitive against Auburn last week.

Here are the takeaways from BYU’s rout of the Lions.

Best performance from BYU basketball in two years

Last year was a grind for BYU basketball. The coaching staff knew going into last season that they were facing challenges with a group that didn’t come together until late September. So there weren’t many games in last year’s 19 victories where the on-court product was a masterclass in how to play basketball at a high level.

The win over Southeastern Louisiana was high-level basketball from a BYU team that hasn’t shown that much since they rose to No. 12 in the AP Top 25 two years ago.

It wasn’t the most significant win on Wednesday in terms of the quality of the opponent. BYU has had greater wins in the past two years. But it’s been awhile since BYU played a complete 40-minute game on both ends of the floor.

BYU held the Lions to 17 points in the first half, one-point shy from a Mark Pope-era best defensive output in a half (16, Saint Mary’s in 2022). Then on the offensive end, they knocked down 49% of their threes and shot 40% from the field, while only committing two turnovers.

Mark Pope has stayed consistent that he likes his current group. He’s bullish on the potential to be greater than they were three seasons ago when they reached the NCAA Tournament. They showed signs of that improved play and growth against an SLU team that was a preseason pick to win the Southland Conference.

BYU scored more than 50 points in both halves. It was an all-around complete performance.

Blowouts are great for advanced ratings

Coming into Wednesday night’s game, BYU was predicted to win by 20 points, 86-66. Instead, they end up rolling through the Lions by 57 points.

That’s domination and the type of performance that is good for climbing up ratings such as KenPom and the NET when those are released next month.

After the game concluded BYU jumped up to No. 16 in the KenPom ratings.

BYU isn’t as worried about predictive metrics as a member of the Big 12 as they were in the WCC. But if they can climb into the Top 20 before they hit the Big 12, it will give them a nice cushion to absorb the losses that will happen when navigating road venues in one of the nation’s toughest conferences.

Trevin Knell is playing at a high level

The return of Trevin Knell has been far more impactful than prognosticators likely expected coming into the season. Knell has been at BYU for each of the five seasons since Mark Pope became the head coach.

During Pope’s early years, he always raved about Knell showing signs of becoming a difference-maker in the program. But injuries always got in the way of Knell’s progress.

Against Southeastern Louisiana, Knell was outstanding, scoring 18 points in 27 minutes of action. While he was on the floor, he had an eye-popping plus/minus of +43.

Atiki Ally Atiki is trending up

Reserve center Atiki Ally Atiki is already in his third season with the BYU program. It’s been challenging for Atiki to produce off the bench for BYU consistently.

Maybe the junior year is where the potential manifests into consistent play every night.

Atiki finished with seven points, eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and one steal off the bench with Aly Khalifa sidelined.

Some of that production was late in the game. But still, if that performance can become the confidence boost that Atiki needs to be a nightly contributor, that could be a significant development for BYU.

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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Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Complete Win Over Southeastern Louisiana