The following notes and quotes are from BYU’s 87-61 win over San Francisco on Saturday evening on Senior Night at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
Series Results: BYU leads 24-12 including a 12-3 record in Provo.
Owning The Boards
BYU outrebounded the Dons, 42-22, including 13-6 on the offensive glass. Traore was the leading rounder with 14 boards for the Cougars with Gideon George and Spencer Johnson each grabbing six rebounds.
Sharing the Rock
The Cougars assisted on 22 of 30 made field goals on the night. Rudi Williams led BYU with seven assists followed by Fousseyni Traore with a career-high five assists and five other Cougars recording at least one assist.
Four BYU players finished in double figures in the win over San Francisco with Williams 21 points leading BYU. Traore finished with 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting, Jaxson Robinson went 5-for-6 from the floor with 12 points and Gideon George also recorded 12 points on a 5-for-9 clip.
After shooting sub-35 percent from three in the four of the last five games, the Cougars went 5-for-10 in the first half against the Dons and finished shooting 9-of-20 (45%) from deep.
Defending the Three
San Francisco ranks 11th in the country in three-pointers per game, yet the Cougars held the Dons to a 2-12 clip in the first period. In the second half, the Dons were held to 3-for-13 from behind the arc for a cumulative 20-percent clip.
All 30 Seconds
The Cougars battled on the defensive end, forcing two shot clock violations in the first half alone leading to four of their 10 points off turnovers.
Fouss on the Loose
Fouseynni Traore was the spark plug for the Cougars as he scored 11 points on a 5-for-7 clip in the first 12 minutes of the contest.
The sophomore’s 17 points and 14 rebounds marked his eighth double double, 20th double-figure scoring performance and his career-best ninth straight game scoring in double figures. Traore’s five assists also marked a career high for the 6-foot-6 forward.
Board Man Gets Paid
Traore pulled down four offensive rebounds in the win, giving him 175 for his career which are the 18th most all-time passing Justin Weidauer (1991-92, 95-98).
Rudi the Charity Stripe Magician
With 11:22 left in the second half, BYU had gone to the line 12 times, all courtesy of Rudi Williams. The senior guard made 11-of-12 trips to the charity stripe to notch 13 points with only one made field goal.
The first free throw from a Cougar other than Williams came at the 9:12 mark of the second half when Noah Waterman split a pair at the line.
After scoring 28 points off the bench in the first meeting with the Dons, Williams finished with 21 points going 15-for 16 from the line. He also recorded a 7-to-1 assist to turnover ratio in the 26-point Cougar win.
How May I Assist You?
With his two assists tonight, Dallin Hall became the seventh freshman in program history to record 100 or more assists in a single season in program history.
- Free Throws Made: Rudi Williams (15)
- Free Throw Attempts: Rudi Williams (16)
- Assists: Fousseyni Traore (5)
- Steals: Jaxson Robinson (3)
- Defensive Rebounds: Fousseyni Traore (10)
- Rebounds: Fousseyni Traore (14)
- Blocks: Rudi Williams (1)
“Tonight was a big win, it was good to get out of this little funk we were in. All week we watched film of the last trip when we went up to San Francisco and the thing that we noticed was that they beat us to all the 50-50 balls, they were tougher than us, they dove on the floor and we didn’t. Shoutout to Coach Fennell, it was his scout, he made sure that we made those adjustments to be more physical. We played tough tonight, got more offensive rebounds and we won the fight.”
On the standing ovation when coming out of the game
“It hit home for me honestly and I can only imagine what it was like for G [Gideon George] because he’s built his blocks here for three years. Even with my couple months in Provo, it meant a lot to me because it hasn’t been easy with the team and with myself personally so knowing that the Marriott Center would never get empty and every night they came and supported us, win or lose, that meant the world to me and i’m super grateful for that.”
On what momentum this win gives going into Vegas
“It’s always good to get back in the win column and to just win period. The win right now is big, going into Vegas, because it will get our wheels rolling a little bit and help the guys feel good about themselves so we can have a good prep week.”
Were you aware of your milestone of 1,000 career points?
“I didn’t know how close I was, so it was kind of a surprise for me but I am blessed for that, it’s been a rough journey during the past three years of my Division I career. I am just grateful for that.”
What can you build on tonight that can carry into next week’s tournament?
“I would say, just playing tough. When we get to Vegas, whatever game we are playing on whatever night is the only game that is going to matter. That’s the only guaranteed game we have left. We have to fight for that 40 minutes and just have to gut it out.”
What were you feeling as you walked off the court for the last time?
“Coach Pope stopped me and told me to soak it in one last time. It didn’t really hit me because I was just getting subbed out of the game. When I looked around in the crowd and heard that roar it felt really good to me because the season has been up and down but those guys show up every night. They have been there every night and I am grateful for that.”
On the standing ovation when coming out of the game
“It was the best. I’m so grateful to be here, to have come here three years ago and feel the love of the fans, the way people embrace us and love us. That really speaks volumes and I’m so proud of everyone for sticking with us and cheering us on.”
Head Coach Mark Pope
What did you team so well defensively tonight?
“I felt like we did a spectacular job on guarding our yard. We fouled some shooters a little bit but didn’t want to. I thought our gaps were pretty solid, I thought guys did a really nice job on early gaps and early recovery which is super important for us. Except for the first four minutes, I thought we rebounded the ball exceptional well on both sides of the floor. We were also fortunate that San Francisco had two games this week, they played Thursday so they had a one-day prep. Our guys did an incredible job of taking advantage of that also.”
On finishing the WCC regular season with a win
“I am super grateful. We knew going into this game that we could either earn a five seed or end up with a seven seed, so I’m really proud of the guys for ringing the bell. It hasn’t been an easy season for us, it’s been super challenging but I couldn’t be more proud of these guys insides because it is hard. As much as we talk about not carrying around the baggage from what happened last week or the week before, there are very few people that can do that and these guys managed to come out with some joy and some fire.”