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Answering Questions From No. 20 BYU Basketball’s Win Over No. 24 Iowa State

Jan 16, 2024, 10:18 PM

BYU basketball guard Dallin Hall with the ball against Iowa State inside the Marriott Center...

BYU basketball guard Dallin Hall with the ball against Iowa State inside the Marriott Center (Courtesy of BYU Photo)

(Courtesy of BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – No. 20 BYU soundly defeated No. 24 Iowa State 87-72 behind 48 second-half points. Spencer Johnson led the way with a career-high 28 points.

Let’s answer some questions from the Cougar’s first home win in Big 12 conference play.

Who was the MVP for BYU basketball?

Trevin Knell didn’t play due to an injury sustained against UCF. He had been shooting the ball well over the past six games so his absence was concerning. Someone needed to pick up the scoring to make up for the lost production.

Enter Spencer Johnson. He’s a clear choice for MVP.

He added 19 points (also a career-high) in the first half with another nine coming in the second half.

Johnson made four of his nine attempts from deep while leading the team in rebounding with nine.

His impact goes far beyond the box score. Don’t get me wrong, his box score was tremendous against Iowa State. However, he does so many little things throughout the game that impact winning.

“The ball just found the right guy,” said Johnson postgame. “It happened to be me tonight.”

What was the most interesting stat from the game?

It hasn’t come easy offensively in Big 12 play for BYU. Through the first three games, the Cougars were averaging 65 points per game, well below their season average.

One way to generate easy buckets is in transition where BYU outscored Iowa State by 13 points.

21 points on the break is a lot in the Big 12. Against the Cyclones, pushing the pace greatly helped BYU knock down 13 three-point shots, where they finished plus 27 in that category.

What was the play of the game?

Following a crazy sequence with an ejection, (more on that in the next question) Iowa State cut the BYU lead to 13 points with six minutes remaining.

The Cougars needed a basket to slow down the Cyclone’s momentum.

Just like he had done all night long, Johnson got to the rim for an easy bucket. The lead was back up to 15 points.

It wasn’t a flashy play, but it’s the type of play that Johnson routinely makes.

When was the game won for BYU basketball?

Iowa State center Hason Ward threw a nasty elbow into the face of Richie Saunders after a made free-throw with 10:35 left in the game.

A decision was made quickly to eject Ward, giving Saunders two free throws. He made both attempts pushing the BYU lead to 15 points.

The Marriott Center was in a frenzy after the foul and losing Ward was a big blow to the Cyclones. He was their leading rebounder when he was ejected.

BYU made 83 percent of their free throw attempts going 20 for 24.

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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Answering Questions From No. 20 BYU Basketball’s Win Over No. 24 Iowa State