BYU COUGARS

No. 22 BYU Pulls Away From West Virginia For Big 12 Road Win

Feb 3, 2024, 6:03 PM | Updated: Feb 5, 2024, 11:24 am

No. 22 BYU basketball pulled away from surging West Virginia for a coveted Big 12 road win.

The Cougars defeated West Virginia 86-73, handing the Mountaineers their first home loss in Big 12 action.

BYU improved to 16-5 overall and is now 4-4 in Big 12 play.

The win comes on a night with BYU being shorthanded. BYU was without Aly Khalifa, who did not make the trip due to battling the flu. The Cougars were also without walk-on forward Townsend Tripple.

Fousseyni Traore stepped up, finishing one shy of tying his career high for points. He finished the night with 24 points and nine rebounds.

BYU guard Dallin Hall dished out a career-high 12 assists in the win.

For West Virginia, Kerr Kriisa led the way scoring 23 points.

BYU closes first half strong against West Virginia

15:38 – Jesse Edwards opened the scoring in one of the quickest scoring plays you’ll see in college basketball. It took only six seconds to get WVU on the board.

Fousseyni Traore, stepping back into the starting lineup for the first time since November against NC State, was active in replacing Aly Khalifa. Khalifa was out due to the flu. Traore scored six of BYU’s eight points in the opening minutes. BYU 8, West Virginia 6.

11:15 – Both teams shot the ball at 50% from the field in the opening action. Trevin Knell has been on the attack on the offensive end.

Last week, Knell was battling the flu that has spread throughout the team. He’s knocked down two buckets in the opening action. BYU 16, WVU 15.

6:52 – The ball movement from BYU was slicing up West Virginia with back-to-back threes from Richie Saunders and Jaxson Robinson.

Saunders scored five quick points off the bench and has already attempted six shots.

BYU built the lead up to five. They had an opportunity to put it at seven off an Atiki Ally Atiki putback attempt, but he couldn’t convert. West Virginia big man Jesse Edwards came up with a defensive stop and then found Josiah Harris for a three. BYU 24, WVU 22.

2:09 – An entertaining stretch of back-and-forth play. West Virginia was cleaning up on second-chance points. The Mountaineers are outscoring BYU 11-4 despite both teams getting six offensive rebounds to this point.

Patt Suemnick picked up four points.

Then BYU started to take advantage in the post after Jesse Edwards picked up his second foul with 6:11 remaining in the half.

Fousseyni Traore looks explosive once again on the block. He made a quick low post move to draw a foul, knocking down both free throws.

Noah Waterman had an impressive blocked shot that led to Dallin Hall getting out on the run and finding Traore wide open in the pain for a slam dunk. BYU 32, WVU 29.

54.5 – BYU is on an 8-0 run, forcing West Virginia interim coach Josh Eilert to call a timeout. Richie Saunders buried back-to-back three-pointers. BYU 38, WVU 29.

Halftime – BYU held West Virginia scoreless in the final 3:24 of action. The Cougars defense was stingy, limiting the Mountaineers to 35% shooting from the field.

Fousseyni Traore scored 12 points at the break, and Richie Saunders scored 11.

BYU committed only three turnovers to WVU’s five.

An interesting stat in the first half was free throw attempts. Entering the game, BYU was 14th in the Big 12 in free throw attempts during league play, while WVU was No. 1.

Through the first 20 minutes, BYU was 3-6 from the free throw line, WVU was 0-1.

BYU outscored West Virginia 13-4 in the final 6:11 of the half while Jesse Edwards was out with two personal fouls.

WVU makes a run, but BYU pulls away in the second half

15:56 – West Virginia burns a timeout after BYU goes on a stretch knocking down four of their five field goal attempts.

Dallin Hall had not hit a field goal to this point, but he was making the offense go with eight assists. One of his best was on a drive to the basket; he instead kicked out to a wide-open Spencer Johnson, who stepped back and buried a three.

Johnson then picked off a West Virginia ballhandler for a layup then knocked down another three, forcing Eilert to burn a timeout. BYU 48, WVU 35.

14:23 – Jaxson Robinson knocked down another three to extend BYU’s lead to 14. Traore pulled off his best Aly Khalifa impression with a pass to Robinson in the corner. BYU 53, WVU 39.

11:41 – Dallin Hall reached a career-high 10 assists after finding Richie Saunders for an and-one to put BYU in front by 17 points.

From there, West Virginia began getting some momentum to wake up the quiet WVU Coliseum.

It started with a slam dunk off an inbounds play to RaeQuan Battle, and then BYU’s Jaxson Robinson committed a double-dribble. Kerr Kriisa then buried a long-distance three and followed that up by drawing an offensive foul on Atiki Ally Atiki. BYU 58, WVU 47.

7:57 – West Virginia isn’t going down lightly. They cut it down to eight after Josiah Harris was fouled on a three-pointer by Jaxson Robinson. Harris buried all three.

Then, the game started to go back and forth.

What didn’t go back and forth was foul calls. At one point, BYU was called for eight fouls to WVU’s one. Fousseyni Traore was the first player to reach three fouls in the game with 9:37 remaining. Shortly after, Atiki Ally Atiki was called for his third.

Traore has reached 20 points for the fourth time in his BYU career.

Dallin Hall has been a matchup problem for WVU. The sophomore guard drew an and-one on an explosive take to the rim off the dribble. BYU 65, WVU 57.

6:27 – This game has the makings of being another close call down the stretch. West Virginia cuts BYU’s lead down to six, forcing Mark Pope to call a timeout.

Fousseyni Traore returned to the floor and West Virginia immediately went on the attack in the post with Jesse Edwards to try and pick up Traore’s fourth foul. BYU 67, WVU 61. 

3:35 – The play of the game might be from Richie Saunders. With BYU holding a 67-61 lead, the Cougars had an inbounds play with 2.0 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Initially, it was only 1.1 seconds, but refs adjusted to 2.0, BYU inbounded the ball, Saunders caught the ball, faded away, and banked in a three.

Then on the following offensive series, Trevin Knell knocked down a three and was fouled. He didn’t hit the free throw to complete the four-point play, but they were backbreaking threes in the moment for WVU. BYU 76, WVU 67.

FINAL – BYU 86, West Virginia 73.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s’ coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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No. 22 BYU Pulls Away From West Virginia For Big 12 Road Win