No. 18 BYU Earns First-Ever Big 12 Win At UCF

Jan 13, 2024, 4:31 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – BYU basketball took down UCF to secure their first-ever Big 12 Conference victory.

The final score was BYU 63, UCF 58, in front of a hostile crowd inside Addition Financial Arena.

It’s the first true road win for BYU since January 7, 2023, when they defeated San Diego as a member of the West Coast Conference. The win on Saturday ends a seven-game skid in true road games.

BYU shot 40% from the field to UCF’s 29%. From three-point distance, BYU attempted 26 threes and hit 35% of them.

BYU’s leading scorer was Aly Khalifa with 17 points, followed by Trevin Knell with 14.

BYU/UCF offenses struggled in the First Half

14:32 – Slow start for both teams, BYU jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Most of the offense in the early portion of the game went to Aly Khalifa. UCF was leaving Khalifa open. He knocked down two of his four attempts but was only 1-of-3 from beyond the arc.

UCF then caught fire from distance, knocking down their first three attempts to put them on a 6-0 run in the first media timeout. UCF 11, BYU 7.

11:43 – Trevin Knell buried a deep three-pointer to end a drought of 2:40.

Part of the drought was due to turnovers. Fousseyni Traore had a layup opportunity off a pass from Dallin Hall, but he muffed the pass, and it rolled out of bounds.

UCF’s Omar Payne, a transfer at his fourth school, previously at Florida, missed two free throws for the Knights and was called for an over-the-back that the UCF faithful were not happy about. The Knights missed their last five field goal attempts. UCF 11, BYU 10.

7:33 – BYU created some separation thanks to a 9-0 run. Jaxson Robinson made an extra pass to find a wide-open Spencer Johnson for a corner three.

Richie Saunders’ toughness showed up again on the road for BYU with a tough offensive board for a layup.

UCF ended the BYU run with a Darius Johnson floater in the paint. The Knights have missed seven straight threes after knocking down their first three attempts. BYU 18, UCF 13.

3:35 – BYU is struggling on the glass against UCF. The Knights are outrebounding BYU, 24-15. Because of the success in rebounds, UCF is finding its way to the free throw line. Luckily for BYU, the Knights are not having much success. UCF is 2-of-8 from the free throw line. Diallo missed three in the past four minutes.

BYU had a miscue on a beautiful pass from Aly Khalifa. Richie Saunders hauled in the pass for a layup, but it rimmed in and out. Saunders then committed a frustration foul. BYU 20, UCF 17.

59.3 – Offense is optional in this game. BYU senior Spencer Johnson did generate some firepower with a fastbreak layup at the rim. The Knights continue to miss their free throws. BYU 26, UCF 22.

13.3 – BYU burns a timeout after Jaylin Sellers gets a bucket at the hoop. At first glance, it looked to be a travel but there was no whistle. Ibrahim Diallo is making anything around the basket for BYU difficult. He blocked a shot attempt from Jaxson Robinson. BYU 26, UCF 24.

HALFTIME – BYU had an opportunity for the final shot, but Aly Khalifa fired off a pass that went out of bounds.

UCF was left with 6.7 seconds left and was able to get two shot attempts off, but couldn’t convert. Darius Johnson missed a three, and then Ibrahima Diallo misfired on the putback attempt.

For the third time in as many games in Big 12 play, BYU goes into halftime with a lead.

BYU 26, UCF 24

UCF makes a run in the Second Half, but BYU holds them off for the win

15:54 – UCF jumped out to an early 3-0 run to regain the lead after a C.J. Walker slam dunk.

BYU quickly responded with a three-pointer from Trevin Knell. After the made three, Knell popped up and was nursing his right leg, but he continued to play.

Two possessions later, Aly Khalifa knocked down another three.

Diallo for UCF was fouled to send the game into a media timeout. He got up gingerly and appeared to be in pain during the timeout. BYU 32, UCF 27. 

13:21 – Johnny Dawkins had to burn a timeout for UCF as BYU was beginning to find its rhythm offensively.

Jaxson Robinson hit a midrange jumper, then two possessions later, courtesy of some great passing from BYU, they found Robinson open for a three, and he buried it.

Then Trevin Knell knocked down a three to give BYU a game-high lead. BYU 40, UCF 33.

11:05 – After a missed layup from Atiki Ally Atiki, Darius Johnson produced an And-One for UCF to cut BYU’s lead down to four.

Spencer Johnson hit a turnaround jumper over Sellers.

It’s been a physical game as highlighted by a tough rebound from Noah Waterman. Then Richie Saunders got a tough bucket after being blocked, he stuck with it, and put BYU back in front by eight. BYU 44, UCF 36.

7:44 – Atiki Ally Atiki fouled out with 8:08 remaining in the game. Moments prior, Atiki picked up his fourth and instead of subbing him out, Mark Pope opted to keep him in the game.

BYU has closed the gap on rebounds, outworking the Knights on the glass in the second half with a (+4) edge at the under-eight timeout. BYU 52, UCF 44.

3:46 – UCF put together a 6-0 run after a Shemarri Allen slam dunk that had Additional Financial Arena on its feet. BYU burned a timeout, then out of the break couldn’t come up with a bucket.

Diallo for UCF tossed up an ill-advised shot but couldn’t connect. On the other end, Fousseyni Traore produced his first points of the game with a floater in the paint. BYU 59, UCF 50.

1:07 – UCF reels off a 14-2 run. BYU is on its heels as the crowd here in Orlando is deafening. One UCF student holds up a sign that reads, “Praying for another miracle.” The Knights are doing everything right to make that happen. BYU 59, UCF 58.

26.5 – Dallin Hall makes one of two free throw attempts, putting BYU up by two. On the other end, UCF guard Darius Johnson dribbles the ball off his foot to give the ball back to BYU. BYU 60, UCF 58.

12.5 – Jaxson Robinson made his return to the game after being out since the 3:40 mark. He was immediately fouled when he touched the ball. Robinson went to the lone for a one-and-one and missed the front end.

Darius Johnson for UCF attacked the basket and missed a layup. Aly Khalifa came up with the rebound. Johnson went for the ball and forced a jump ball, possession BYU. BYU 60, UCF 58.

FINAL – BYU escaped after Richie Saunders knocked down a pair of free throws to put the game out of reach.

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. 18 BYU Earns First-Ever Big 12 Win At UCF