Answered Questions From No. 21 BYU Basketball Win Against Kansas State

Feb 10, 2024, 11:03 PM | Updated: 11:05 pm

BYU center Aly Khalifa makes a three-point shot against Kansas State...

BYU center Aly Khalifa makes a three-point shot against Kansas State (Courtesy of BYU Photo)

(Courtesy of BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – The No. 21 BYU basketball team bounced back win a win at home against unranked Kansas State.

The Wildcats went on a massive 16-2 run late in the second half, but the Cougars made two critical shots in the final minute of the game to hang on. 

Let’s answer some questions from the Cougar’s fifth conference win.

Who was the MVP for BYU basketball?

Fousseyni Traore came off the bench with the return of Aly Khalifa.

However, that didn’t slow down the big man in the middle who led BYU in scoring and rebounding with 14 and eight in those categories.

He’s my choice for MVP.

The Cougars are fortunate to have Traore healthy after a scary play in the first half.

Tylor Perry dove after Traore on a loss ball. It was a dangerous play that was called a flagrant one foul on Perry.

The only negative from his performance was shooting 44 percent from the free-throw line. More on that later.

BYU has become a different, better team since Traore returned because of his ability to score in the paint.

What was the most interesting stat from the game?

The game got uncomfortably close late in the second half.

BYU had chances to slow down the Kansas State momentum from the free throw line, but they shot poorly from the line only making 48 percent of their attempts.

Trevin Knell was the only player to make all of his three attempted free-throws.

A win is a win, but free-throw shooting like this could cost BYU some winnable games down the road.

What was the play of the game?

The play of the game was a massive three-point make from Jaxson Robinson with one minute remaining.

I’ll save that moment for the next question. However, he had another highlight play that was noteworthy.

After missing two games due to an illness, Aly Khalifa was back in the BYU starting lineup.

It was like he never left.

He led the team in scoring and assists in the first half.

The “Egyptian magician” displayed his pin-point passing with eight minutes remaining in the first half when he found Jaxson Robinson cutting to the basket for an easy dunk.

Head coach Mark Pope referred to Khalifa as the defacto point guard when he was in the game because of his passing.

His presence was sorely missed in the loss against Oklahoma. It’s good to have him back.

When was the game won for BYU?

Kansas State looked dead in the water for most of the second half. However, a late run had Kansas State believing they would escape with a big road win.

What was once a 16-point BYU lead was trimmed down to two points with one minute remaining.

The Cougars needed someone to make a heroic shot and rescue a poor BYU offense down the stretch.

Jaxson Robinson was that man. He drilled a three-point shot late in the shot clock that

Spencer Johnson closed the door on the ensuing possession with a layup after a breakdown by the Kansas State defense.

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 @baiamontematt here.

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Answered Questions From No. 21 BYU Basketball Win Against Kansas State