Takeaways From BYU’s Top 25 Battle Against Texas Tech

Jan 20, 2024, 8:41 PM | Updated: Jan 22, 2024, 10:43 am

Provo, Utah – No. 20 BYU basketball struggled in the second half resulting in an 85-78 loss against No. 25 Texas Tech. The Cougars only scored 30 points in the second half after putting up 48 in the first half.

BYU is now 2-3 in Big 12 play after leading all five games at halftime.

Red Raider guard Pop Isaacs was unbelievable in the second half scoring 23 points. The Cougars didn’t have an answer for Isaacs who played at Wasatch Academy with Richie Saunders.

Here are some takeaways from a tough loss on the road.

BYU basketball forced to use a new starting lineup

The Cougars have battled injuries all season long. Before the opening tip, it was announced that Noah Waterman was unavailable due to a concussion suffered against Iowa State.

Richie Saunders got his first start of the season in place of Waterman. He scored 16 points making both three-point shots he attempted. His 16 points were second-best on the team behind Aly Khalifa who scored 21 points.

Jaxson Robinson started in place of Trevin Knell for a second consecutive game. Knell played well off the bench in the first half scoring six quick points.

Robinson struggled to make shots against Texas Tech for most of the night. He was scoreless in the second half going 0 for 6.

The starting lineup got off to a blistering hot start. BYU made 10 three-point shots in the first half. Unfortunately, the hot shooting cooled off in the second half.

Second-half turnovers were costly

In all three of the Cougar losses in the Big 12 play, second-half turnovers have been costly.

Texas Tech scored 22 points off BYU turnovers. On the other side of things, BYU only managed four points of Red Raider turnovers.

The points-off turnovers were painful, especially the eight turnovers in the second half.

Credit Texas Tech who cranked up the pressure on Dallin Hall in the second half. BYU will need to find answers to combat the heavy-pressure defense that has made life hard for the Cougars in the half court offense.

Richie Saunders was fantastic

Saunders has elevated his game in conference play. He increased his scoring during the past three games. Throughout that stretch, he’s shooting over 40 percent from the three-point line.

He plays great with Khalifa who loves to find Saunders on backdoor cuts to the basket.

It will be interesting to see how Coach Mark Pope distributes the minutes between the guards and forwards when Waterman returns.

Saunders is making a strong case to see increased minutes.

No Atiki Ally Atiki for BYU Basketball

Fousseyni Traore was available after missing the game against Iowa State and he scored eight points off the bench with eight rebounds.

Without Waterman, BYU was thin at the forward and center positions. After Traore and Khalifa, it was Townsend Tripple who saw Minutes instead of Atiki Ally Atiki.

Triple played eight minutes making 1 of 2 three-point attempts. Atiki didn’t see any time behind the three mentioned players.

It’s possible Triple was a more seamless fit in the lineup with his ability to stretch the floor, however, it’s noteworthy that Atiki has only played three minutes in the past two games.

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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Takeaways From BYU’s Top 25 Battle Against Texas Tech