No. 12 BYU Drops Big 12 Debut To Cincinnati At Home

Jan 6, 2024, 10:14 PM | Updated: 10:15 pm

BYU/Cincinnati, Game Recap...

PROVO, UT - JANUARY 06: Spencer Johnson #20 of the Brigham Young Cougars pressures Dan SkillingS Jr. #0 of the Cincinnati Bearcats during the first half of their game at the Marriott Center on January 6, 2024 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Big 12 play is a different animal than what BYU basketball faced in nonconference.

That lesson was spelled out loud and clear for BYU on Saturday night.

Cincinnati stepped into a Marriott Center with 16,879 fans and took down No. 12, 71-60.

BYU shot 29% from the field and 25% from three as the Bearcats steamrolled the Cougars in their Big 12 debut.

Defense, turnovers highlight First Half of BYU/Cincinnati

16:18 – Fousseyni Traore and Jaxson Robinson check into the game. Traore is making his first game appearance since Black Friday in November against NC State. BYU 8, Cincinnati 5.

15:57 – Cincinnati has opened the game ice cold. The Bearcats are shooting 20% from the field.

BYU had some excellent ball movement. Aly Khalifa found a cutting Dallin Hall, who then made the extra pass to a wide-open Trevin Knell for a three. BYU 8, Cincy 5.

10:53 – Before the media timeout, Khalifa dished a beautiful assist to a backdoor-cutting Jaxson Robinson for a layup.

It hasn’t been a mistake-free game for BYU thus far, as they’ve committed an uncharacteristeric five turnovers.

BYU had a possession with three 3-point attempts and couldn’t bury them. BYU 13, Cincy 5

6:28 – Trey Stewart, battling for a loose ball, dove into the row of courtside fans, practically rolled over them, and then got back into the action. It has embodied the game so far, with nothing coming easy. BYU has 10 turnovers, while the Bearcats have 8.

BYU’s Richie Saunders and Cincinnati big man Viktor Lahkin had some battles in the post that resulted in a pair of quick foul calls on Saunders. BYU 18, Cincy 13.

3:28 – BYU was in a rut shooting the basketball, but their defense ignited the offense. Two entry passes intended for Cicny’s Jamille Reynolds were stolen by BYU, leading to a Trevin Knell three and then the next possession, a deep three from Dallin Hall. BYU 26, Cincy 19.

32.8 – Atiki Ally Atiki didn’t make an appearance in the game until the five-minute mark. But he has made impactful plays during his time on the floor. Getting in passing lanes to force turnovers, blocked shots, and getting up and down the floor on offense. He did have a turnover, not being able to grab a Dallin Hall pass on a roll off a pick, but he gave quality minutes for BYU. BYU 31, Cincy 24.

HALF – Sloppy play highlighted the half from both teams as they combined for 18 turnovers.

Trevin Knell leads all scorers with 12 points.

Cincinnati pulls away by double-figures over BYU in Second Half

15:46 – BYU is living from three. As a team, BYU has knocked down nine threes. There was a thought they had made their tenth courtesy of a corner three from Noah Waterman. But officials ruled it as a two.

Six of BYU’s nine 3-pointers are from Trevin Knell. BYU 39, Cincy 35.

11:58 – Trevin Knell is having a career night. The former Woods Cross High product is up to nine threes in the game. If he hits two more, he sets the single-game record for most threes by one BYU player.

Before the media timeout, Richie Saunders had a physical and-one opportunity with Cincy’s John Newman III guarding him. Saunders is one of the toughest players on this BYU team. BYU 51, Cincy 47.

10:49 – Cincinnati takes the lead after a corner field goal from Edgerrin James’ son, Jizzle James. Cincy 52, BYU 51.

7:52 – Trevin Knell was subbed out at the 10:23 mark with BYU down by one. When Knell hit the bench for a breather, the BYU offense went with him. Cincinnati has settled in and is crashing the glass. Jizzle James is leading the way for the Bearcats. Cincy 56, BYU 51.

4:33 – BYU gave up a 14-2 run over the last 7:03 of action. At the 5:42 mark, down by four, BYU fans were on their feet, sensing some momentum building in their favor. Dallin Hall fired off a deep three near the Marriott Center logo. It hit the iron. Cincinnati then made the next two field goals to go up eight. Cincy 61, BYU 53.

3:40 – Trevin Knell returned to the game after six minutes on the bench. The long rest apparently cooled him as well. Knell missed two free throws. BYU is 3-of-7 from the free-throw line. Cincy 61, BYU 53.

2:16 – Viktor Lahkin buried a three from the wing that felt like a dagger. Dallin Hall responded with a three of his own. Cincy 66, BYU 58. 

1:30 – Aziz Bandaogo threw down a slam dunk with some authority. He is a matchup nightmare for nearly anyone in the Big 12, but especially in the Big 12. Another double-double in the Marriott Center for the former UVU big man. Cincy 68, BYU 58.

53.0 – BYU fans are heading for the exits. Should we reexamine how the NET rankings are put together? Cincy 69, BYU 58.

FINAL – BYU falls to Cincinnati, 71-60. Trevin Knell led all scorers with 27 points.

BYU drops to 12-2 overall, 0-1 in the Big 12.

Up Next

BYU goes on the road for its second true road game of the season as they will face nationally-ranked Baylor in Waco at the $212 million Foster Pavilion.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. (MT)/8 p.m. (CT) on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and KSL NewsRadio.

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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No. 12 BYU Drops Big 12 Debut To Cincinnati At Home