Traore leads No. 22 BYU to road win over West Virginia

Fousseyni Traore scored a season-high 24 points as No. 22 BYU defeated West Virginia 86-73 on Saturday evening in front of 11,753 fans at WVU Coliseum.


MORGANTOWN, W.V. - Fousseyni Traore scored a season-high 24 points as No. 22 BYU defeated West Virginia 86-73 on Saturday evening in front of 11,753 fans at WVU Coliseum. 

The junior eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the first time this season, going 10-of-15 from the floor and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. He also tied a season-high with nine rebounds, six of those coming on the offensive glass.

Richie Saunders scored 17 points off the bench, knocking down six shots including a career-best four 3-pointers. Dallin Hall had a career-high 12 assists, making him the first Cougar with double digit assist since Alex Barcello had 10 against Texas Southern on December 21, 2020. 

Jaxson Robinson and Spencer Johnson also reached double figures finishing with 15 and 12 respectively. 

BYU shot 48.5 percent from the floor 36.1 percent from three and 64.3 percent from the free throw line. Both teams had 35 rebounds including nine on the offensive glass. The Cougars assisted on 19 of their 36 makes with only eight turnovers, four steals and four blocks. 

First Half
Traore scored the opening eight points for the Cougars in his first start since Nov. 24 before Johnson had a putback on a 3-point miss from Robinson to cut the deficit to 12-10. 

Trevin Knell scored four straight points off the bench, both coming on floaters in the lane to give BYU its first lead of the game, 14-12 Saunders connected on the Cougars first 3-pointer of the game as BYU retook the lead 19-17 at the 9:33 mark. Robinson made it two straight for BYU on the next possession with a corner three on an extra pass from Knell to push the Cougars lead to five, 22-17. 

Traore reached double figures for the fifth time this season with a pair of free throws to help break a 25-all tie. Spencer Johnson knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game on the next trip down to make it 30-27 at 5:00. 

The Cougars would finish the half on an 8-0 run to lead 38-29 at intermission. Traore’s dunk on Dallin Hall’s sixth assist of the first half started the run followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Saunders to push him into double figures for the 10th time this season. 

Second Half
The Cougars missed their first three shots of the second half until Johnson scored eight of BYU’s next 10 points including a pair of triples. Hall found a wide open Johnson after driving the lane followed by a nice move in the post by Traore to make it 43-30. Kerr Kriisa hit a jumper and the Mountaineers got a stop but a wayward pass went right to Johnson who split a pair of Mountaineers for a layup. The senior wasn’t done there as he hit a corner three to make it 48-35 forcing a WVU timeout. 

The teams traded baskets following the timeout as Robinson hit a corner 3-pointer followed by a pullup jumper from Kriisa. Traore continued to have his way in the past as the junior got his defender in the air before another finish at the rim. Hall got his 10th assist of the game on an old-fashioned 3-point playy from Saunders to make it 56-39.

The Mountaineers would go on a 11-2 run to cut the lead to single digits with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in regulation. Hall got things back on track for the Cougars as he scored five of BYU’s next seven points including an old-fashioned 3-point play to make it 65-55 with 8:46 left in regulation. 

The Cougars went scoreless for nearly three minutes as WVU once again got the lead to single digits, 67-61, before Saudners banked in a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring. WVU scored four straight before Knell knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game to make it 73-65.  Robinson made BYU’s 11th 3-pointer of the game on the next time down the floor courtesy of Traore’s fifth offensive rebound of the game  to push the lead back over double figures.

It was rinse and repeat out of the media timeout as a Traore offensive rebound turned into a Robinson 3-pointer to extend the lead 79-67. The senior would seal the game less than two minutes later with his fourth and final triple of the game.

The Cougars remain on the road with a Tuesday evening showdown in the Sooner State with No. 23 Oklahoma at 7 p.m. CT. 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.