STOCKTON, Calif. (ABC4 Sports) – Jaxson Robinson and Spencer Johnson combined for 23 points as BYU beat Pacific 69-49 in its West Coast Conference opener at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Thursday night.
Robinson’s BYU career-high 17 points came as he made four 3-pointers. Johnson came off the bench to shoot 5-of-11 from the field and 3-of-6 from distance, all of this in just his first game back since sustaining a knee injury versus Butler on Nov. 24.
Rudi Williams and Dallin Hall added eight and seven points, respectively. As a team, BYU shot 42.0 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from 3-point range while holding Pacific to 32.0 percent from the field and 26.0 percent from deep. The Cougars’ shooting and 40-25 rebounding mark helped them overcome 19 turnovers.
Pacific found momentum from an early 3-point play and stormed out to a quick 8-1 lead. The Tigers’ early advantage would be their only on the night as BYU gathered itself and responded with a 22-5 run.
Robinson started the run for the Cougars with a 3-pointer to cut Pacific’s lead to four. Johnson followed that up with a 3-pointer of his own following an offensive rebound from Noah Waterman. The Detroit Mercy transfer Waterman added a trey of his own to square the game at 10-10 moments later.
A step-back fadeaway jumper from Williams tied the game at 13-13 before a Johnson steal and fastbreak lay-in gave BYU its first lead of the game at 15-13. Richie Saunders soon arrived from the bench and sparked the offense further with a rebound that set up a Robinson 3-pointer and a make from distance of his own just prior.
Williams then helped BYU to its first double-digit lead of the night at 23-13 when he found Robinson cutting to the rim for two.
A pair of Pacific 3-pointers sliced BYU’s lead to eight before Fousseyni Traore scored four unanswered at the free-throw line and Williams nailed a contested jumper in the key to give the Cougars a 33-21 edge.
BYU finished the half strong with Williams collecting a defensive rebound and pushing the ball in transition to Johnson for 3-pointer as time expired.
The Cougars continued to runaway for the win in the second half, leading by as many as 26 after an alley-oop dunk Atiki Ally Atiki gave BYU the 69-43 advantage.
BYU returns home for a New Year’s Eve matchup with Portland on Saturday at 7 p.m. MST.