Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Blowout Win Over Morgan State

Nov 18, 2023, 9:32 PM

BYU Basketball, Fousseyni Traore, Morgan State...

BYU basketball forward Fousseyni Traore had an excellent game from the field in a win over Morgan State. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball defeated Morgan State to improve to 4-0 for the first time in two years.

The win closes out BYU’s four-game homestand at the Marriott Center.

BYU leaves the cozy confines of home next week when they play in the Vegas Showdown at the Mandalay Bay against Arizona State on Thanksgiving night.

Here are some takeaways from BYU’s runaway victory against Morgan State.

Fousseyni Traore continues to shine at the five

BYU is trying to find a lineup that allows junior forward Fousseyni Traore to play at the four instead of the five-spot. That hasn’t been possible with Aly Khalifa dealing with an undisclosed injury and coaches not pairing up Traore with Atiki Ally Atiki simultaneously.

So, it’s kept Traore at the five in the early part of the season; as usual, Traore continues to perform at a high level.

What’s been even more impressive this year is that Traore has improved his touch around the basket. Before returning to action at the 7:18 mark of the second half, Traore knocked down 80% of his 10 field goal attempts.

He finished the night 8-of-11 from the field with 17 points and four rebounds.

There were no three-point field goal attempts, as we saw earlier this week against Southeastern Louisiana, but there’s no question Traore has taken steps forward in his offensive game.

Last season, Traore was dealing with a nagging hamstring injury and other setbacks that prevented him from being at 100%. For now, he’s confident in the players around him and he’s embraced his role as a five-man.

Too many turnovers in the first half

After earning rave reviews from head coach Mark Pope for how they took care of the basketball against Southeastern Louisiana, BYU was loose with the rock in the first half against Morgan State.

BYU committed nine turnovers against the Bears, who were the lowest-rated team by KenPom’s metrics on BYU’s remaining schedule.

Maybe it was a lack of energy for the matchup. The crowd was a late-arriving one with little to no juice in the building. It seemed to carry over to how BYU played.

Along with the turnovers, BYU only shot 33% from the field.

Richie Saunders finished with a near-perfect night

If not for a missed three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining in the game, Richie Saunders almost put together a perfect night on the offensive end.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and four assists in BYU’s blowout win over Morgan State.

“Richie is so fantastic,” said BYU coach Mark Pope. “…There were moments where we felt like we were on our heels a little bit and they were head down going at us. Then Richie is just able to cause some disruption where they feel like, ‘Oh, we have to manage it.'”

When Saunders signed with BYU in the 2020 recruiting cycle, he was known for his defensive pedigree. That defensive background has carried over to the collegiate level while being a highly efficient performer on the offensive end.

Took care of business

Not every game is going to be at the same level of intensity as a game against San Diego State or what BYU will face in their upcoming Big 12 schedule. Mark Pope probably doesn’t want to hear that, but let’s call it what it:is: BYU was facing an opponent that was severely outmatched.

It wasn’t a glamorous game from BYU, particularly in the first half. But they did what they were supposed to: do, pull away with a big margin of victory.

KenPom’s projected score was by 30 points. They far exceeded that with a 43-point victory and didn’t do anything to take away the momentum gained from the previous three wins.

That’s important as BYU has to stockpile the wins to build a cushion before they enter Big 12 Conference play.

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.

Take us with you wherever you go.

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.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

citizens bank park...

Brian Preece

Locals In MLB: Former BYU Pitcher Advances To Triple-A While Rehabbing For Philadelphia Phillies

Former BYU baseball pitcher Michael Rucker is one call from making his Philadelphia Phillies debut after a promotion to Triple-A.

5 hours ago

BYU Football, LaVell Edwards Stadium, Sam Turner...

Mitch Harper

Georgia Tech Commit Shares Pictures From Visit To BYU Football

BYU is looking to flip a prospect from the ACC.

2 days ago

BYU Football, Tucker Kelleher, Commitment...

Mitch Harper

Georgia Native TE Commits To BYU Football During Visit

Second day in a row that BYU football lands a commitment from a 2025 recruit.

2 days ago


Kyle Ireland

2025 Four-Star Wide Receiver LaMason Waller Commits To BYU Football

Four-star wideout and member of the 2025 recruiting class LaMason Waller announced his commitment to Kalani Sitake's BYU football program.

3 days ago


Kyle Ireland

BYU Football Cools Off Louisiana, Tulane Beer Ads With Famous Chocolate Milk

BYU looked to one-up a couple of advertisements shared by Louisiana and Tulane with the "coldest chocolate milk in college football."

3 days ago

logan porter utah tech...

Brian Preece

Locals In MiLB: San Francisco Giants Trade For Former Utah Tech Catcher Logan Porter

It was always going to be an uphill battle for former Utah Tech Trailblazer Logan Porter as a catcher in the Kansas City Royals system.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption...

Hans & Scotty’s Day Of Adoption

Join the KSL Sports Zone for Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption, in partnership with the Humane Society of Utah, on June 25th, 2024!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Blowout Win Over Morgan State