SAN DIEGO (ABC4 Sports) – BYU rebounded nicely from a disheartening loss to Loyola Marymount on Thursday with a 68-48 blowout victory over San Diego Saturday night.
Fousseyni Traore led four Cougars in double-figures with 15 points, while BYU held San Diego to their lowest offensive output of the season.
“Our guys are really trying and they are getting better in ways that are super important,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “San Diego is an extremely explosive offensive team but we made it hard for them all night and didn’t give them anything easy. We are one of the only teams to have three of their first four conference games on the road and for a young team that is really hard. For these guys to go 3-1 is not perfect, but I am really proud of them.”
The Cougars, who had its 7-game winning streak snapped by the Lions, have now win eight of its last nine.
BYU went 24-for-48 from the field, 88.9 percent from the line and assisted on 17 of 24 made field goals in the 20-point road win. The Cougars outscored the Toreros 29-0 in bench points, 36-26 in the paint and only allowed five second-chance points to a team that averages 10.8 offensive rebounds per game.
Mark Pope’s squad also kept San Diego, who averages 78.3 points per game, to their lowest point total of the season (48) and held them scoreless for nearly 10 minutes in the opening half. During the 10-minute stretch, the Cougars went on a 13-0 run to open up a 17-point advantage. BYU finished with seven steals, three blocks and forced 14 San Diego turnovers that lead to 11 points.
Fousseyni Traore was the game’s leading scorer with 15 points, scoring in double figures for the 13th time this season. The sophomore was 6-of-8 on the night, marking his 10th game shooting over 60 percent from the field. Traore was 3-of-4 from the line while tallying five rebounds and two blocks.
Rudi Williams, Atiki Ally Atiki and Spencer Johnson were the other three Cougars to finish in double figures.
Williams was 7-of-8 from the charity stripe on his way to 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Ally Atiki finished with 12 on 4-of-6 shooting, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the line with three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. In his first start since returning from a knee injury, Johnson went 3-of-5 from the field, knocked down both of his three-point offerings, grabbed five boards, recorded two steals and an assist.
Traore opened the scoring for the Cougars with back-to-back baby hooks before an alley-oop lay in from Dallin Hall to Spencer Johnson gave the Cougars their first lead of the game, 6-4.
Out of the under-16 media timeout, Jaxson Robinson hit his first three of the night followed by finding Atiki Ally Atiki for the alley-oop slam to take a
Rudi Williams hit a jumper before jumping a passing lane and going the length of the floor for the deuce to extend the Cougar lead to 21-10.
From 15:31 mark when San Diego took an 8-7 lead, BYU forced eight Torero turnovers and held USD to 0-for-16 shooting during a 20-5 run which ended at the 3:03 mark of the first half.
During the 20-5 run, six different Cougars scored. Ally Atiki recorded all six of his points including a two-handed ally-oop finish over a San Diego defender during the run, Williams knocked down two jumpers, Traore knocked down a turn-around jumper while Jaxson Robinson and Spencer Johnson both buried shots from downtown.
Due to the BYU defense, the Toreros finished the half with more turnovers (9) than made field goals (8) in half number one. Contrastingly, the Cougars went 12-for-27 in the opening stanza, assisting on eight of their 12 field goals. BYU also registered seven steals, two blocks, 16 points in the paint and 10 bench points before halftime.
With 15:51 to play, the Cougars rattled off three-straight scores with Robinson finding Traore for two, Robinson finding Johnson in the right-corner for three and Williams dropping it to Traore who finished with a kiss off the glass to put BYU up 19.
Back-to-back driving layups from Williams and Richie Saunders gave the Cougar a game-high lead of 20 with 13:31 to go before the went on a run to cut the lead to 11 with 7:27 left.
In the last 8:04, BYU held San Diego to only two made field goals to close out a 68-48 win over the Toreros.
BYU returns to the friendly confines of the Marriott Center on Thursday, January 12, to host No. 9 Gonzaga at 7:30 p.m. MST. T