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BYU Basketball Questions Answered In Win Against Denver

Dec 13, 2023, 9:07 PM | Updated: 9:08 pm

Noah Waterman is pressured by Pedro Lopez-Sanvicente of the Denver Pioneers during the first half a...

PROVO, UT - DECEMBER 13: Noah Waterman #0 of the Brigham Young Cougars is pressured by Pedro Lopez-Sanvicente #15 of the Denver Pioneers during the first half at the Marriott Center on December 13, 2023 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU basketball team bounced back with a dominant performance over the Denver Pioneers winning 90-74.

Let’s answer some questions from the first of five consecutive home games for the Cougars.

Who was the MVP for BYU Basketball?

Noah Waterman set a new career high in rebounds with 14 along with his 22 points scored.

After struggling mightily against Utah, Waterman bounced back with a double-double. It’s the first double-double of his career.

He’s a capable shooter, but in the absence of Fousseyni Traore, BYU desperately needs him to become a reliable rebounder.

Normally that would be enough to warrant MVP consideration.

However, the sharp shooting from Jaxson Robinson makes him an easy choice for MVP.

Robinson poured in a career-high 28 points.

He made a career-high eight three-pointers, several of which were well behind the line.

The best play of the night from Robinson was his final bucket of the game.

A smooth behind-the-back dribble in transition led to an easy lay-up at the rim. The sequence included a Magic Johnson-esque fake pass that opened the lane for Robinson. It was smooth.

What was the most interesting stat from the game?

Many fans want Jaxson Robinson to move into the starting lineup. There’s no denying his level of play would warrant such a move.

However, the Cougars are enjoying a bench mismatch when Robinson comes into the game.

Against Denver, BYU out-scored the Pioneers by 26 points from the bench players.

The Cougars are second in the country in bench scoring in large part due to Robinson. Richie Saunders has been great off the bench as well, but the scoring punch from Robinson is hard to defend.

I think it’s a weapon to have Robinson off the bench and it’s something I don’t see changing anytime soon. Why make a change when the rotation is working? Robinson will continue to finish close games, as he should.

What was the play of the game?

The hamstring injury to Traore has demanded more from Aly Khalifa and Atiki Ally Atiki.

Both players have answered the call with larger workloads.

Khalifa’s passing has been a revelation for the BYU offense. He delivered multiple highlight-worthy passes to Noah Waterman for dunks.

However, I think the play of the game was an alley-oop layup by Atiki early in the second half.

He set a high pick-and-roll for Dallin Hall and then rolled to the hoop. Hall floated the ball and Atiki was able to lay it up while absorbing some contact.

It was a fantastic finish that demonstrated his athletic ability.

He finished the and-one, which was nice to see. BYU only missed one free throw against Denver. Perhaps they’d be undefeated if they had made more free throws in the loss against Utah.

When was the game won for BYU basketball?

The cold shooting that plagued BYU in their first loss of the season against Utah continued in the early moments against Denver.

Trevin Knell is in a mini-slump. He missed all five of his three-point attempts.

Things changed for BYU when Jaxson Robinson started making three-pointers in the first half.

Robinson made a deep three with 9:38 remaining which extended the BYU lead to 25 points.

Moments later he buried a long pullup jumper prompting a timeout. The Pioneers never threatened after that sequence.

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.

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BYU Basketball Questions Answered In Win Against Denver