No. 21 BYU does enough down the stretch to defeat Kansas State, 72-66

Jaxson Robinson's 3-pointer in the final minute lifted No. 21 BYU to a 72-66 victory over K-State.


PROVO, Utah — No. 21 BYU did just enough down the stretch to hold off Kansas State, 72-66, in front of 17,446 fans at the Marriott Center on Saturday evening. 

Jaxson Robinson was one of five Cougars to score in double figures as the senior hit one of his two 3-pointers with 53 seconds remaining in regulation to help the Cougars fend off a K-State comeback. The native of Ada, Okla. was 5-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. 

Fousseyni Traore had a team-high 14 points as the junior eclipsed 900 career points at BYU. Traore, who shot 5-of-8 from the floor, grabbed eight rebounds, had two blocks, and a steal. Johnson was 5-of-12 from the field and 1-of-3 from the 3-point line. The senior surpassed 1,300 hundred career collegiate points also recording seven rebounds, three assists and a steal.

Noah Waterman tallied 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, 2-of7 from downtown, grabbing two rebounds, recording an assist, and a steal. Trevin Knell also reached double figures in his first start since January 13.

BYU shot 42.9 percent from the floor, including 32 percent from 3-point range and registered 34 points in the paint. The Cougars' defense forced 16 Wildcat turnovers and capitalized by scoring 14 points off those takeaways.

BYU held Kansas State to a 43.1 percent clip from the floor, including 26.1 percent from the 3-point line. Despite being outrebounded 42-34 and being outshot at the free-throw line 83 percent to 48 percent, the Cougars hung on for the six-point victory.

First Half
Knell scored five of the Cougars first seven points including a floater to give them their first lead of the game, 7-6. The teams traded buckets with a jumper from Traore in the paint and a dunk from K-State to tie it at 14-all heading into a media timeout. 

Following the timeout, Aly Khalifa nailed his first basket of the game, a 3-pointer from dead center, to give the Cougars a 17-14 advantage. Trey Stewart quickly made an impact coming off the bench for BYU, with a bucket, two rebounds, and a steal in his first few minutes on the floor.

A dime from Khalifa led to a driving Robinson slam, extending the Cougars' lead to 21-17 with just over eight minutes remaining in the half. A 6-0 run put BYU ahead 27-19 following a basket in the paint for Traore before Khalifa later nailed his second triple of the game, putting the Cougars ahead 30-22.

A few possessions later, a Khalifa layup drive to the basket extended BYU's lead to 32-25 with 3:27 remaining in the half. To close out the half, a Johnson turn-around jumper wrapped up the first half for the Cougars, extending their lead to 36-27 headed to the locker room.

BYU scored 20 of its 36 first half points in the paints after going 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.

Second Half
Back-to-back triples from Waterman and Johnson extended BYU's lead to open the second half, as the Cougars led 45-32 with 16:32 remaining in the game.

Immediately off the bench, Richie Saunders picked up a steal that eventually led to another basket in the paint from Traore, which spun around the rim before finally dropping in and pushing BYU's lead to 49-35.

Later in the half, a corner 3-pointer from Robinson extended the Cougars' lead to 58-41 with just over nine minutes remaining in the game. Knell nailed his first 3-pointer of the evening before another Waterman make from downtown maintained BYU's lead as the Cougars led 64-48.

An 11-0 run for Kansas State cut into BYU's lead, trimming its deficit to 64-59 with just under four minutes remaining in the game, forcing the Cougars to call a timeout.

Following the timeout, a Wildcat flagrant offensive foul led to a made free throw from Dallin Hall, extending BYU's lead to 65-59. Later down the stretch, K-State's Arthur Kaluma made it a one possession game, 66-64, with his third and final 3-pointer game. 

Robinson had the answer for the Cougars as the senior sunk a 3-pointer from the top of the key and extending BYU's lead to 69-64. Kaluma did his best to keep K-State in the game with an acrobatic layup but allowed Johnson to score on the next possession for the Cougars to seal the game for the Cougars.

The Cougars will finish up a two-game homestand for a showdown against UCF on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 p.m. MST. Watch the game live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ or listen to live play-by-play on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143, Radio app or KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.