Takeaways From BYU’s Wire-To-Wire Loss Against Oklahoma State

Feb 17, 2024, 4:02 PM

BYU Basketball, Fousseyni Traore, Oklahoma State...

BYU basketball center Fousseyni Traore battles against Oklahoma State freshman Brandon Garrison on February 17, 2024 in Stillwater. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

On Saturday morning, the NCAA Selection Committee revealed the Top 16 teams if the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced today.

It was a reminder that March Madness is going to be here soon.

So, knowing that the tournament is only four weeks away, it wasn’t the best time for BYU basketball to have its worst performance in Big 12 play.

But that’s what happened on Saturday afternoon against Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State defeated BYU 93-83. The 19th-ranked Cougars never led in the game.

BYU’s loss drops them to 6-6 in Big 12 play and 18-7 overall.

Here are some takeaways from the loss.

Concerning trends are emerging for BYU basketball on defense

Entering Saturday’s game, Oklahoma State was the lowest-scoring offense in the Big 12. BYU’s defense made them look like one of the league’s best.

Oklahoma State scored 93 points against BYU.

Two OSU freshmen, Jamyron Keller and McDonald’s All-American Brandon Garrison, put together career-high performances with 22 and 21 points, respectively.

Oklahoma State was 11 of 22 from three and shot 60% from the field.

It was surprising to see BYU’s defense struggle as much as they did. Until this past week, BYU was consistently in the Top 25 in adjusted defensive metrics this season.

But we saw signs of the recent struggles allowing UCF this past Tuesday to score 88. Then the Pokes dropping 93 has to lead to BYU returning to the drawing board to figure out how to adjust on the defensive end.

“Huge kudos to Oklahoma State. I thought they played great tonight,” said BYU coach Mark Pope. “We really didn’t have answers. They were terrific sharing the ball and terrific shooting the ball. Unbelievable. Jamyron Keller stepped in the starting lineup and took incredible advantage of that opportunity.”

BYU assistant coach Kahil Fennell is tasked with being the defensive coordinator on the staff; he has to find answers quickly if BYU wants to get back on track.

“That’s something that we’re going to really hone in on going into next week is that we’ve got to guard without fouling,” said BYU starter Trevin Knell. “There are a couple of times where they got to the rim and finished on an and-one. So if we can just limit those and we were right there.”

BYU struggled to get downhill against Oklahoma State

Along with shooting the three, BYU basketball has had success getting downhill and attacking the basket.

They weren’t able to do that enough on Saturday against Oklahoma State.

BYU had to settle for a lot of tough, contested shots. Some of which were midrange looks.

BYU finished the game with 19 more field goal attempts (71) than Oklahoma State (52), but only hit 44%.

Oklahoma State shut down the cuts that have been a signature of BYU’s offense this season. It’s a big reason Aly Khalifa and Dallin Hall finished with only five assists to six turnovers combined.

When BYU basketball doesn’t hit 10+ threes, upsets can happen

Saturday was the fifth Big 12 game in the last six where BYU finished with less than 10 three-pointers made.

Since the win over Texas on January 27, teams are dialing in their scouting reports to limit BYU’s success from beyond the arc.

In the loss to Oklahoma State, BYU was 8-of-35 from three-point range.

The type of loss that could drop BYU in seeding

Oklahoma State upsetting BYU is going to move the Pokes into “Quad 2” territory in the NET ratings.

Entering Saturday, Oklahoma State was No. 136. Any games against teams ranked 76-135 would equate to a Quad 2 opponent. So, that’s a positive for BYU.

But to get blown out and suffer a wire-to-wire double-digit loss could serve as a black eye on BYU’s NCAA Tournament resume.

BYU is always a tricky team to place in the NCAA Tournament because of their “No Sunday” policy. So, the available quadrants for BYU are always slim.

BYU was generally viewed as a 5-seed coming into the game. Depending on how Oklahoma State performs the rest of the season, it could drop them a seed or two.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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Takeaways From BYU’s Wire-To-Wire Loss Against Oklahoma State