Second half defense powers No. 25 BYU in 78-71 upset win over No. 11 Baylor

Aly Khalifa hits 3-pointer in No. 25 BYU 78-71 upset win over No. 11 Baylor at the Marriott Center Tuesday night in Provo, Utah. Photo Courtsey of BYU Men's Basketball/BYU Photo.


No. 25 BYU men’s basketball got their payback in a 78-71 upset win over No. 11 Baylor Tuesday night at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.

Struggles for the Bears on the road continued as the Cougars handed them their fourth loss on the road this season in the Big 12.

Aly Khalifa would be a part of those struggles for Baylor Tuesday night as the 6-foot-11 junior transfer recorded a season-high, four 3-pointers. Khalifa is known for his passing ability and puts tremendous pressure on defenses with a high basketball IQ.

The Alexandria, Egypt native has been given a few nicknames by fans, teammates, and others, “Prince Aly” and the “Egyptian Magician.” Magic would be worked as the big man would be the player of the game Tuesday night, finishing with 14 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.

Jaxson Robinson came along for the ride as usual leading the Cougars in bench points with 16, 13 of which came in the second half.

One could argue Robinson has been the best reliable shot-maker down the stretch for the Cougars. The senior from Ada, Oklahoma has made three big-time 3-pointer in the past four games.

Robinson’s first clutch 3-pointer was against the Kansas State Wildcats with 51 seconds left giving BYU a 69-64 lead. His second would do it again in BYU’s 90-88 win over UCF last Tuesday, February 13th at the Marriott Center with two minutes left in the game. His final clutch 3-pointer came with a minute and a half left to play in regulation that gave BYU an eight-point lead (74-66).

Robinson’s offensive performance wasn’t his best performance in Tuesday night’s win. His defense stood out more than anything. Robinson was tasked with guarding Baylor forward Ja’Kobe Walker, who is one of the many talents on their roster.

Walter got off to a quick start scoring four points. When Robinson entered the game he was the primary defender of Walker. Walker’s last make was at 10:27 in the first half, and he wouldn’t score another basket until the 12:20 mark in the second half.

Defense is what brought home the victory for the Cougars. Baylor’s offense shot 4-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half, which included two 3-pointers from starting forward Jalen Bridges.

Bridges finished the game leading the Bears in scoring with 15 points going 6-of-12 from the field, while also snagging eight rebounds.

BYU slowed Baylor down in the second half, holding them to 1-for-1o from 3-point range. A lot of that energy would come from the loud atmosphere, which presented a sold-out crowd of 17,978 BYU fans, including a full BYU ROC student section.

The Cougars split the series with the Bears and are now tied for 6th in the Big 12 conference with the Horn Frogs of TCU, who will enter the Marriott Center in just a little over a week.

BYU will now play back-to-back road games against Kansas State and Kansas. The Wildcats and Cougars will meet for the second time this season on Saturday, February 24th. Tip is scheduled for 1 pm CT. The game will be live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ in Manhattan. BYU will then face Kansas on Tuesday, February 27th with the tip-off scheduled for 7 pm CT on ESPN.

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