BYU COUGARS

Takeaways From BYU’s Missed Opportunity At Iowa State

Mar 6, 2024, 10:43 PM | Updated: Mar 7, 2024, 2:49 pm

No. 20 BYU basketball lost at No. 6 Iowa State 68-63 in Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

BYU had a 14-point lead with 15:56 to go in the game, but 17 turnovers allowed the Cyclones to storm back to a senior night victory.

Here are some takeaways from BYU’s setback, which dropped the Cougars to 21-9 overall and 9-8 in Big 12 action.

No timeouts played a role in BYU’s late turnovers

BYU closed out the game with three turnovers. In total, BYU finished with 17 turnovers against the second-ranked adjusted defensive team in college basketball.

Late in the game, you’ve got to wonder how much the lack of a timeout sped BYU up.

BYU didn’t get shot attempts up due to the turnovers. Point guard Dallin Hall accounted for two of those turnovers, while Fousseyni Traore was called for a travel.

With less than 90 seconds left, BYU got an indirect extra timeout thanks to a lengthy review on an obvious out-of-bounds call off Traore. But in the final seven minutes, BYU had no timeouts to work with.

The final timeout was called with seven minutes to go in the game. Senior Spencer Johnson dribbled into the corner of the court and was trapped. He then burned a timeout.

Richie Saunders continues to perform at a high level

BYU forward Richie Saunders had another impressive game on Wednesday. Off the bench, Saunders finished with 20 points and three rebounds.

He shot 7-12 from the field and 3-6 from three-point range.

Last season, as a freshman, Saunders’ role was inconsistent. This season, he’s emerged as a guy BYU can rely on for high-level production on both ends of the floor.

Saunders was key in helping BYU build a double-digit lead at the halftime break.

BYU needs to do a better job of finishing off teams when they have big leads

If BYU took care of business in two road games with double-digit leads this season in league play, they would be looking at a bye to the quarterfinal of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.

Instead, BYU will have to play an extra game in the Big 12 Tournament next week in Kansas City.

The loss at Iowa State and the setback against Texas Tech in January are gut-punch losses that not only hurt seeding in the Big 12 Tournament but also missed opportunities to get into the Top 16 seeds of the NCAA Tournament.

You could also add the loss at Baylor in Waco in January as well. BYU had a nine-point lead in that one before the Bears stormed back.

Kansas State coach Jerome Tang said last month that BYU’s style of play allows you to get back into games. That might be true. However, BYU must find a way to finish the job and take advantage of these opportunities.

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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Takeaways From BYU’s Missed Opportunity At Iowa State