BYU Avoids Letdown, Comes Back From 17-Point Deficit To Take Down TCU

Mar 2, 2024, 9:09 PM | Updated: 11:31 pm

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball avoided the dreaded letdown after their historic win over Kansas by taking down TCU.

After the first 20 minutes, however, BYU looked like a team that had a big win hangover as they trailed TCU by 17 at halftime.

BYU only shot 8% from three in the first half.

The always-attacking Cougars stayed true to their identity after trailing as they outscored TCU by 29 points in the second half to come away with an 87-75 victory.

Fousseyni Traore led BYU in scoring with 21 points, and Trevin Knell scored 20 points.

But it was the efforts of Richie Saunders, who was a key cog in BYU coming back from the 17-point deficit. Saunders finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.

BYU improves to 9-7 in Big 12 play and 21-8 overall.

TCU falls to 19-10, 8-8 in Big 12.

First Half: Season-high halftime deficit for BYU

15:20 – At the first media timeout, BYU trailed once again. They opened the game with a 4-0 lead, but TCU settled in from beyond the arc, hitting their first three attempts from distance.

Aly Khalifa was up to his usual magician antics, passing the rock. The 6-foot-11 had three assists in the opening 4 1/2 minutes of gameplay. TCU 13, BYU 11.

11:33 – TCU’s Trevian Tennyson knocked down a pair of three-pointers. The Horned Frogs hit their first three-point attempts before missing the six, another try from Tennyson.

BYU started the game 1-of-6 from three. Jaxson Robinson and Spencer Johnson both missed open looks. TCU 23, BYU 18.

7:12 – Jaxson Robinson’s highlight block forced a shot clock violation. It was the type of play that you put on his highlight reel when he gets selected in the NBA draft in June.

BYU’s defense prevented TCU from knocking down a field goal for four minutes. But the offense couldn’t capitalize. Throughout that stretch, TCU maintained its lead. Then Emmanuel Miller ended the drought with a bucket at the rim, followed by a Chuck O’Bannon three. TCU 28, BYU 22.

3:59 – TCU picked up four second-chance points, which included a layup from Emmanuel Miller off a Jameer Nelson Jr. missed free throw before the media timeout.

In the play, Noah Waterman went down and looked in pain. Waterman limped to the bench, and Miller showed great sportsmanship by wrapping his arm around Waterman.

BYU is missing free throws at 4-of-8, which includes a missed front end by Fouss Traore. TCU 39, BYU 25


HALF – BYU finished the first half shooting 8% from three. That’s not a typo, 8%.

BYU was 1-13 from three-point range.

The stats were not pretty for BYU in the first half.

TCU shot 70% from three. The Horned Frogs outrebounded BYU 24-16.

BYU committed eight turnovers to TCU’s six.

On the bright side, Noah Waterman was able to return to action.

The 17-point deficit was BYU’s largest deficit at the half. TCU 46, BYU 29.

Second Half: BYU completes comeback to take down TCU

15:59 – BYU opened the second half on a 5-0 run, thanks to a three from Trevin Knell and then an and-one opportunity for Spencer Johnson.

The cold shooting from the charity strip continued for BYU as Johnson missed the free throw.

TCU has been on the attack for the loose balls. Xavier Cork picked up a 50/50 ball, leading to the Horned Frogs’ first-half bucket.

On BYU’s next possession, Aly Khalifa missed a three; there was a long bounce off the rim, TCU came up with the ball, leading to an Emmanuel Miller dunk. TCU 50, BYU 36.

14:31 – Timeout TCU after BYU popped off a 10-0 run.

Fousseyni Traore got an and-one opportunity and hit the free throw. Then, the Marriott Center crowd was on its feet after Trevin Knell hit his second three-pointer of the second half.

Knell nearly hit a third three from the corner, but it went off the rim. Richie Saunders came up with the offensive rebound and had a putback, forcing Jamie Dixon to call a timeout. TCU 50, BYU 44.

12:46 – TCU called another timeout as BYU built up a 15-0 run. TCU 50, BYU 49.

11:40 – After TCU’s 30-second timeout, the Horned Frogs reeled off their own run of 7-0 in less than a minute.

It started with JaKobe Coles hitting a three. Then BYU’s Jaxson Robinson committed a turnover, leading to a Coles layup on the other end.

Fousseyni Traore missed a gimmie at the hoop, and then Jameer Nelson Jr. finished a tough bucket at the rim.

TCU’s run took place with Dallin Hall off the floor. TCU 57, BYU 49.

7:42 – Richie Saunders had back-to-back possessions where he drove to the basket, leading to BYU points.

First, he found Jaxson Robinson open in the corner for a three. Then he finished at the rim to tie the game. BYU wiped out a 17-point deficit. BYU 62, TCU 62.

3:48 – Richie Saunders’ energy was a key catalyst in BYU reeling off a 20-2 run.

Saunders knocked down a three. He was active on the glass, locking up on defense, and made winning plays to help BYU build a game-high 11-point lead.

TCU’s Chuck O’Bannon hit an and-one to get the Horned Frogs deficit back to single-digits. BYU 75, TCU 67.

FINAL – BYU shot 53% from three in the second half, while TCU only hit 17% of its threes.

BYU outscored the Horned Frogs by 29 points in the second half

Up next for BYU basketball

After taking down TCU, BYU returns to the road to take on No. 8 Iowa State in Ames.

BYU defeated Iowa State in January. The game tips off at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM).

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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BYU Avoids Letdown, Comes Back From 17-Point Deficit To Take Down TCU