No. 14 BYU Basketball Hosts Evansville In The Marriott Center

Dec 4, 2023, 1:37 PM

BYU Basketball, Evansville, Mark Pope...

BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope leads No. 14 Cougars against Evansville in a home game at the Marriott Center. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU basketball team continues to see recognition for their best start in the Mark Pope era.

They’re No. 14 in the latest AP Top 25 poll and they came in at No.2 in the first NCAA NET rankings.

It’s a remarkable start for a team that had a losing record in conference play last season as a member of the West Coast Conference.

Last time out for BYU Basketball

After dispatching the Fresno State Bulldogs at the Delta Center with an 85-56 win, the Cougars return home to host the Evansville Purple Aces.


Fousseyni Traore missed the game in Salt Lake City with an injury that head coach Mark Pope deems to be a “day-to-day” situation.

Transfer Aly Khalifa got the start in place of “Fouss.” He played a season-high 24 minutes while adding five assists.

“Aly adds another 30 percent to our offense,” said Mark Pope. “If you finish your cut, he punishes you. I’m really confident he’s the best-passing seven-footer in the country.”

BYU hasn’t been at full strength all season long. Khalifa is still working his way back from an injury that limited him early in the season.

The Cougars haven’t seen transfer Dawson Baker make his debut yet this season either as he recovers from an injury suffered in training camp.

“Our team could not have responded to changes in real-time in games last year,” said Mark Pope. “We were too young. These guys have come so far. The best thing we have going for us right now is our communication is elite.”

BYU vs Evansville: How To Watch, Listen

Location: Marriott Center

City: Provo

Tip-Off: 7 p.m. (MT) / 8 p.m. (CT)

TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

What you need to know about No.14 BYU Basketball

BYU ranks nationally in the top 10 in eight major team categories tracked by the NCAA.

Here are those categories:

  • Assist/turnover ratio (5th)
  • Assists per game (3rd)
  • Bench points per game (2nd)
  • Scoring margin (1st)
  • Scoring offense (7th)
  • Three-point attempts (1st)
  • Three-point percentage defense (4th)
  • Three-pointers per game (1st)

The two categories that jump out are three-point shooting and scoring margin.

BYU is beating teams handily, something they struggled to do last season.

If they can continue to shoot the three-point shot well while defending at an elite level, they’ll make noise in Big 12 conference play.

Get to know the Evansville Purple Aces

Evansville is 7-1 on the season with their only loss coming on the road against Missouri State.

The purple aces are coming to Utah fresh off an overtime win over Northern Iowa in overtime.

Their leading scorer is senior guard/forward Ben Humrichous who is averaging 18.3 points per game.

They have a player with local ties in Tanner Cuff. He transferred over from Salt Lake Community College after prepping at American Fork High School.

He has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the Missouri Valley Conference

You can hear Matt Baiamonte every Saturday on KSL Newsradio for Cougar Sports Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or you can find him on Twitter here.

Take us with you wherever you go.

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No. 14 BYU Basketball Hosts Evansville In The Marriott Center