Salt Lake City, Utah –
No Fouss Traore, no problem.
Career-highs from Jaxson Robinson and Spencer Johnson lead BYU (7-0) to its seventh victory Friday night at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah defeating Fresno State (3-4) 85-56.
Jaxson Robinson had set a previous career-high in the Vegas Showdown, and broke that Friday night at the Delta Center scoring 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting, and making six big time 3-pointers.
Spencer Johnson was right behind Robinson notching 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Johnson would also score the first ten of 12 points for BYU to open the game.
Not much the Bulldogs offense could do, turning the ball 21 turnovers times to Mark Pope’s offense is not something you want to do. BYU would make Fresno State pay for it by scoring 36 points off the Bulldogs turnovers.
BYU continues to take care of the basketball with another limited turnover game. Cougars’ only registered seven turnovers tonight.
This would also be the first game for the Cougars’ without starting forward Foussenyi Traroe who is out due to injury (hamstring). Traroe suffered the injury in the first half against NC State back at the Vegas Showdown.
A lot of questions would be how this team would look without Traore. Mark Pope’s team didn’t miss a beat, grabbing 34 rebounds (12 offensive), and scoring 15 second chance points.
There may still be concerns around BYU center Atiki Ally Atiki. The Junior forward received yet another technical foul with 9:17 seconds left in the first half. Ally Atiki bounced the ball high off the ground in regards to an over-the-back foul call.
Ally Atiki was subbed out five seconds after. Head Coach Mark Pope immediately would make his way down to the end of the bench where Atiki was and quickly spoke before turning his attention back to coaching.
Ally Atik has had issues with his on court behavior the past couple of seasons. The Junior forward received a flagrant two foul in the 2021-22 season for shoving a San Diego Toreros guard in a conference matchup.
Fast forward to the Vegas Showdown this season, Ally Atik was game ejected for punching Arizona State forward Akil Watson with less than 90 seconds left to play. Thankfully, Mark Pope intervened before the situation escalated.
Then, tonight another incident, although minor, from Ally Atiki. With Traroe out, the BYU bigs can’t afford to lose any more players.
BYU has now moved up into 6th in KenPom, and is surely to move up in the AP rankings after nearly doubling the 14.5 spread after Friday night’s win.
The Cougars will now face Evansville at the Marriott Center next Tuesday December 5th. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm MT. The game will be live on ESPN+.
(This is being updated)