Takeaways From BYU’s Blowout Big 12 Tournament Loss To Texas Tech

Mar 14, 2024, 4:46 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – BYU basketball lost to Texas Tech in the Quarterfinals of the 2024 Big 12 Tournament.

It was an 81-67 wire-to-wire defeat handed to BYU by the Red Raiders.

“We were disappointed with how things went. Certainly disappointed with the outcome,” said BYU coach Mark Pope. “Sometimes you’re out on the court, and it feels like it’s so hard to make progress, and there were a number of statistical reasons for that, but it was a really frustrating morning for us.”

Here are my takeaways from BYU’s loss.

BYU basketball “got punked”

That was the words of BYU starting guard Trevin Knell after the loss to Tech.

“We just got kind of punked at the end of the day like they came out ready to go. They were ready for this game,” said Knell. “We came out slow, and we let them make difficult shots that affected us on both ends of the floor. So we made a run in the second half and cut it within seven. But at the end of the day, it was too little, too late.”

From the opening tip, BYU looked a step slow compared to the athleticism of Texas Tech.

BYU was down 9-0 before they could blink and the Red Raiders were off to the races from there.

It was a disappointing performance from a BYU team that appeared to turn a corner after defeating UCF in their Big 12 Tournament debut.

Live and die by the three?

BYU finished Thursday’s game shooting 7-35 from three-point range. That’s half of the makes they had against UCF the day before.

Texas Tech was 9-19 for 47.4%. Joe Toussaint and Darrion Williams’s two backbreaker threes, when BYU cut the deficit to seven, were the daggers in BYU’s comeback efforts.

The performance raised questions again about BYU’s ability to win games if the threes aren’t falling.

“Sometimes you’re climbing uphill a little bit. And like I said, I credit Texas Tech a lot,” said Mark Pope when asked if his team missing threes impacts other parts of their game. “Their speed and the explosiveness that they cut with over and over and over again, and their ability to get downhill and finish, or they hit us from the three-point line early, so a ton of credit goes to them, but for sure sometimes in the game you’re fighting an uphill battle and things start to disintegrate a little bit.”

I’ve set BYU’s minimum threshold hold at 10 threes per game. If they go under that number in a game, anyone can beat them–especially in an NCAA Tournament where anyone they will face in a 5/12 or 6/11 matchup is a high-quality team.

But when the threes fall at a high clip, BYU can go toe to toe with anyone in the country.

The decision to sub Jaxson Robinson

When Richie Saunders was fouled with an opportunity to cut the second-half deficit to seven, BYU coach Mark Pope subbed out Jaxson Robinson, who had hit a three on the previous possession to get BYU within single digits.

When Robinson was out, Texas Tech hit the two threes from Toussaint and Williams, which put the game out of reach.

Why did Pope sub out Robinson? He explained in the postgame press conference.

“Just trying to save fouls,” said Pope. “We had a defensive possession, so we thought maybe we could milk one possession on the defensive end and keep him alive in the game.”

There were many areas where BYU lost the game. But in that moment, it felt critical to continue with the personnel that put BYU in a spot to go on a 15-0 run.

BYU basketball never gave up

BYU’s push to cut the deficit to seven and reel off a 15-0 run was an example of this team’s resilience.

Throughout the season, BYU has been a resilient group that responds to adversity. They let Texas Tech jump up to a 23-point lead in the first half.

It could have been easy for BYU to give up and turn its attention to the NCAA Tournament. Then, you add the injury to Aly Khalifa. The odds were stacked against BYU’s mounting any sort of comeback.

BYU cut the deficit to seven points, an example of the fight they have shown throughout the season. This characteristic should serve them well in the NCAA Tournament.

“Our team has been really resilient. That’s the standard we have. It’s what we expect and it’s how we perform most often. It was a struggle all night long for us. It was a struggle all night long,” said Mark Pope. “The guys hung in there. There were a few moments where it felt like we barely got over the edge and we were the aggressor, but for the vast majority of the night we were on our heels offensively and defensively tonight.”

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 Blowout Big 12 Tournament Loss To Texas Tech