Second-chance points secure No. 25 BYU’s 78-71 win over No. 11 Baylor

No. 25 BYU men’s basketball made the most of its second matchup with Baylor this season as it secured 16 offensive rebounds for 20 second-chance points and beat the No. 11 Bears 78-71 on Tuesday night at the Marriott Center.

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PROVO, Utah — No. 25 BYU men’s basketball made the most of its second matchup with Baylor this season as it secured 16 offensive rebounds for 20 second-chance points and beat the No. 11 Bears 78-71 on Tuesday night at the Marriott Center. 

The win gives the Cougars their first-ever regular season with wins over three different ranked opponents. 

After weathering a Baylor scoring blitz to begin each half, BYU held a game-high lead at 68-59 with five minutes to play when a 6-0 Bear run brought the visitors threatening.

The Cougars would not relinquish their hard-earned lead and pulled away for good with timely 3-pointers from Trevin Knell and Jaxson Robinson along with a key defensive stop on a Richie Saunders block. For the second time in a week, Robinson put a ribbon on the BYU win with four-straight free throw makes to finish.

Four BYU players finished with two or more offensive rebounds. Spencer Johnson led the team with five such boards among nine total, to go along with six points, four assists and a steal. Dallin Hall recorded five rebounds, four offensive, and six assists to accompany seven points.

Robinson led all scorers with 16 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-9 from deep. Aly Khalifa finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from deep. The distributive center also mailed the ball to teammates for seven assists while squeezing seven rebounds with three on the offensive glass. 

Trevin Knell delivered from beyond the arc knocking down 3-of-7 3-pointers en route to scoring in double figures in 10 straigh starts.

BYU outrebounded Baylor 39-30 for the game, 16-7 on the offensive glass and outscored the visitors 20-4 in second-chance points. The Bears shot 49 percent from the field to the Cougars’ 44 but BYU’s 14 3-pointers, six of which came in the second-half, outdid Baylor’s five for the night.

The Cougars also moved the ball around to the tune of 20 assists on 29 made field goals. 

First Half
Baylor began the game 3-of-3 from the field and was up 8-0 two minutes in. BYU regrouped with offensive rebounding and second-chance points. Hall collected an errant shot and funneled the ball through Khalifa and out to Noah Waterman for the Cougars’ first 3-pointer of the game. Khalifa added a trey of his own moments later and put BYU within five at 11-6. 

The Bears continued to shoot well from the floor and Hall helped the Cougars keep pace with another physical play on the offensive glass. Hall possessed a would-be 3-pointer as it fell off the rim and put it right back to cut Baylor’s lead to 13-8.

The Bears would grow their lead to 18-10 before BYU found its groove on both ends of the floor.

The Cougars forced back-to-back empty Baylor possessions with a turnover and offensive foul. Fousseyni Traore then tacked on an old-fashioned 3-point play and Khalifa a putback score. BYU followed up that spurt with a transition pull-up 3-pointer from Robinson and step-back triple from Johnson to come within one at 22-21 with 7:48 to go until the break. 

The Bears pushed their lead to 27-21 but it proved short-lived as the Cougars responded with a momentum-turning 8-0 run.

BYU’s run began with a quick-trigger triple from Knell. Khalifa then found Waterman cutting to the basket and sent the ball his way for a clean lay-in. The Cougars took their first lead of the half and sent Baylor to a timeout as Johnson stole the ball on one end of the floor and sent it ahead to Hall for a trey on the other.

BYU built its 8-0 run and went up 29-27 with four-straight makes from the field over a 71-second stretch while holding the Bears to one field goal on their last eight attempts.

Baylor briefly retook a 31-29 lead before the Cougars responded with an 11-2 run.

Khalifa kick-started the run as he found Knell cutting to the basket for the quick lay-in. Knell returned the favor on BYU’s next trip down the floor as he flipped the ball back to Khalifa for another three from the top of the key.

Johnson and Khalifa combined to put BYU up 40-33 with a minute to play before the break. Khalifa threaded a pass to Johnson who scored off the window then knocked down another triple following an offensive rebound from Johnson.

A driving lay-in from Knell put BYU up 42-37 at the break with five field goals good in its last seven attempts to finish the period.

The Cougars’ eight 3-pointers, 9-3 advantage on the offensive glass and 13 second-chance points alleviated a 54-percent shooting half from Baylor. BYU shot 46 percent from the floor  while assisting on 10 of 16 made field goals. The Cougars went 2-of-2 from the free throw line while the Bears knocked down four first-half triples and went 7-of-9 on foul shots.

Khalifa led BYU at the half with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 from deep.

Second Half
Baylor began the second half much as it had the first with a 6-0 run to take a quick 43-42 lead. BYU responded with a lay-in from Waterman courtesy Khalif and triple from Knell.  Hall kept the Cougars in front 49-45 five minutes into the half with an offensive rebound and driving lay-in through contact.

BYU blossomed its lead to 54-47 moments later with Khalifa draining another shot from deep followed by Saunders floating the ball through the net off an inbound pass with seven on the shot clock.

The Bears bullied their way back to briefly knot the game at 54s before Robinson responded for BYU with a timely triple.

 Saunders and Robinson continued their playmaking with the former squeezing a shot over the rim between two defenders and the latter jarring the ball loose from Baylor on its next possession. Saunders proceeded to scrape the unattended ball off the floor and return it to BYU. The Cougars capitalized on the extra possession with Johnson reeling in another offensive rebound and dishing it to Robinson. The senior sharpshooter then put up a deep shot and watched as it rolled around the rim, thought about it, then fell in for three. BYU then led by a game-high eight at 62-54 with eight to play.

With another 8-0 run under its belt, BYU gripped the lead for good.

Unselfish play resulted in clean looks for the Cougars at the rim with Traore and Waterman finishing for four more as BYU took a 68-59 lead with five minutes remaining.

Baylor crept back with a 6-0 run that cut the Cougar lead to 68-64. Knell was there to answer and pushed BYU back up 71-64 with another 3-pointer. Despite playing with four fouls, Saunders continued to do the dirty work on defense and abruptly ended the next Bear possession with a block.

Baylor would come within five at 71-66 with under two minutes to play but the Cougars came roaring out of a timeout with Hall finding Robinson for the dagger three. BYU led 74-66 with 90 seconds left and saw it through to the finish with Robinson draining four-consecutive, game-sealing free throws.

The Cougars hit the road next with a matchup at Kansas State awaiting them on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan.. Watch BYU face the Wildcats at 1 p.m. CST on Big 12 now on ESPN+ or listen to live play-by-play on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143, Radio app or KSL 102.7FM/1160 AM.