The following notes and quotes are from BYU’s 63-57 win over Weber State on Thursday evening at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
Series Results: BYU leads the series 37-11, including 23-0 in Provo
First Half Bench Points
The BYU bench scored nine of the first 16 points for the Cougars to keep the game tied at 16 with 8:08 left in the opening half.
Leading at the Half
In the Mark Pope era, the Cougars are 63-9 in games they lead at the half. BYU led 29-24 at the break thanks to a 22-10 run to end the first.
Eight blocks tonight is the second-highest mark of the season and included a season-high three from both Fousseyni Traore and Atiki Ally Atiki.
Happy Home Stretch
BYU went a perfect 4-for-4 during the team’s four-game home stand, which also moved the Cougars’ winning streak to five-straight.
Cool Under Pressure
The Cougars went 9-for-9 from the free throw line over the final 3:07 of the game, including Jaxson Robinson and Gideon George each hitting a pair in the last 10 seconds. Prior to those attempts, Robinson had only shot two free throws all season, with his last trip to the line coming five weeks and one day ago against Missouri State.
Controlling the Glass
The Cougars outrebounded the Wildcats 39-27, holding Weber State to five offensive rebounds on the night. BYU grabbed 11 offensive boards, leading to 15 second-chance points.
10 Win Conference Teams
In the four years with Pope at the helm, the Cougars have entered conference play with 10 or more wins in three of those seasons. In the 2020-21 season, shortened by COVID-19, BYU notched a 9-2 record in non-conference play.
500 for Fouss
Traore reached 500 career points after his made free throw with 2:21 remaining in the game. He finished with 17 on the night, good for 501 in his career. Tonight was also the seventh-straight game Traore shot over 50 percent from the field. Additionally, BYU is now 19-5 all-time when he scores in doubles figures, with this the sixth-straight game Traore contributed 10 or more points.
Both Sides of the Ball with Waterman
Noah Waterman’s 14 points means the Cougars are now 4-0 when he scores in double figures. He also secured eight rebounds, including six on the defensive end, the fourth time he has matched his career high for total boards.
Dallin “Plus” Hall
Hall led the team with a +16 plus/minus tonight. The freshman has had a positive plus/minus throughout the team’s four-game home stretch, leading the Cougars in the category in three of those games.
Williams for Three
Rudi Williams now has 3-point makes in 13 of his 15 games this year. However, tonight was just the third time he did not score in double figures this season.
- Assists: Atiki Ally Atiki (2, 2x)
- Blocks: Atiki Ally Atiki (3, 2x), Fousseyni Traore (3)
- Free Throw Attempts: Jaxson Robinson (2, 2x), Noah Waterman (7)
- Free Throws Made: Jaxson Robinson (2, 2x), Fousseyni Traore (7), Noah Waterman (4)
- Rebounds: Noah Waterman (8, 2x), Rudi Williams (4, 7x)
- Steals: Fousseyni Traore (2, 3x)
- Assists: Atiki Ally Atiki (2, 3x)
- Rebounds: Noah Waterman (8, 4x)
Coach Mark Pope
On defending the three
“One of the things I was super proud of the guys for doing is guarding their guy. We’ve made a huge emphasis on keeping guys in front of us, so that the threes they get are off the dribble rather than drive-and-kick threes where they are set and it is a catch-and-shoot. The guys were great at guarding their guy, it was the number one point of emphasis and I thought we did a really good job of that tonight.”
On Noah Waterman’s career-high eight rebounds
“How about Noah’s eight rebounds? People said Noah couldn’t rebound when he came here and this guy is putting on a clinic.”
On positive lessons from the game
“It was great for us to grind out a win, which is super important. It also exposed us in some ways where we’re going to have some really good film. It very much felt like three or four teams in the WCC, where it just turns into a slug fest, there’s not a lot of help, the game’s super physical. This is a real gift for us to tear up this film, pick it to pieces and use it as a teaching experience for our guys. It’s great to learn and win at the same time, our guys grew through the course of this game and we’re going to grow a lot in the aftermath.”
On what contributed to the five-game win streak
“I think one of the tell-tale signs for us is how we are protecting the basketball and Noah has become one of the best protectors of the ball. He was 3:1 (assist to turnover ratio) tonight and has gone four straight games without a turnover. He has been really aggressive with the ball and is playing off two feet. Controlling and valuing the ball has been really important.”
“Today's game was pretty good. We did a good job holding them at the three-point line. They are one of the hottest teams in the country shooting the three, but I think we did a good job shutting them down and not allowing them to get too many up. The biggest play of the game was G [Gideon George] coming up with that offensive rebound at the end of the game. He went up with four people around him, snagged and came down with it.”
On defending the three
“We really focused on their two shooters mostly. They were both shooting over 50 percent, so we couldn’t help off of them too much when they were in the corners. Overall, we focused on locking down three point shooters and not letting them get the ball up.”
“We definitely focused on rebounding because they are also a really good offensive and defensive rebounding team. Coach mentioned how this was going to be a game like Creighton, so we focused on giving that effort. We are a really good rebounding team and it all comes down to our effort.”
On the five-game win streak
“I think it comes down to rebounding, guarding our guy and we’ve been playing with a lot more pace. At the beginning of the season, we struggled with our thrust because we were still working on our chemistry but in these last games against Creighton, Western Oregon and tonight our thrust was really good and gave us open shots for the team because we put more pressure on their defense.”