Cougars upset bid comes up short against No. 6 Iowa State

No. 20 BYU’s upset bid of No. 6 Iowa State came up short on Wednesday as the Cougars fell 68-63 to the Cyclones at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.


Ames, Iowa - No. 20 BYU’s upset bid of No. 6 Iowa State came up short on Wednesday as the Cougars fell 68-63 to the Cyclones at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. 

The Cougars led by as much as 14 in the second half but went the final four minutes without a basket as the Cyclones maintained their perfect home record. BYU finished 22-of-56 from the floor, 8-of-29 from 3-point range and 11-of-16 from the free throw line. 

Richie Saunders led the team in scoring for a third time this season as the sophomore tied a career-high with 20 points, 15 of those coming in the first half. He went 7-of-12 from the floor, 3-of-6 from three and 3-of-3 from the free throw line. Jaxson Robinson also reached double figures for the Cougars finishing with 11 points as the senior extended his 3-point streak to 17 games.

Spencer Johnson and Fousseyni Traore had 11 rebounds a piece as the Cougars outrebounded the Cyclones, 45-35. 

First Half
Johnson opened the scoring for the Cougars with a contested layup after the Cougars missed their first five shots to begin the game. Dallin Hall connected on another layup on the next trip down the floor and then went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to four, 9-5.

Following a defensive stop, Robinson opened his scoring account with a 3-pointer from just inside the ISU logo. A Trevin Knell steal out of the media timeout turned into a layup for Robinson to make it 11-10. ISU’s Curtis Jones would connect on his second 3-pointer of the first half on the next trip down for the Cyclones.

Traore evaded a double team for his first points of the game followed by another jumper from Jones. The Cougars took their first lead of the game after a 10-2 run that included eight points from Saunders.

Saunders got the run started with a driving layup followed by a coast-to-coast layup by Robinson after a long rebound. Saunders finished with his left hand to give BYU its first lead of the game, 20-18. Tamin Lipsey tied the game with a jumper followed by three straight 3-pointers from BYU beginning with Aly Khalifa’s first make of the game. Saunders would make triples on back-to-back possessions after great movement from the Cougars to make it 27-18. 

The Cyclones made it a one possession game, 30-27, at 2:50 with another Lipsey jumper. BYU would score the final eight points of the half to lead by 11, 38-27. Dallin Hall silenced the crowd with a deep three followed by a Saunders 3-pointer in front of the Cyclone bench. The sophomore would finish the scoring with another layup giving him 15 points in the opening 20 minutes. 

Second Half
After missing its first three shots in the second half, Noah Waterman knocked down a corner 3-pointer after Khalifa demanded a double team in the post. A minute later, Waterman intercepted a pass into paint leading to a Johnson layup to make it 44-32 for BYU.

A floater in the lane from Robinson pushed the lead to 51-40 with the Cyclones scoring the next five points in a span of 21 seconds to cut the lead to six. The Cougars held a nine-point lead, 56-47, with under 10 minutes remaining in regulation following free throws from Robinson. The Cyclones would go on an 11-0 run over the next two minutes to take the lead for the first time since 9:46 in the first half.

Traore tied the game up on the next possession on an offensive outback followed by an old-fashioned 3-point play from Lipsey. Trevin Knell nailed his first 3-pointer of the game with 5:47 left in regulation to tie the game at 61-all. 

Two possessions later, BYU regained the lead, 63-61, on a pair of free throws from Saunders as the sophomore reached the 20-point plateau for the second time in his career. The Cyclones scored the final seven points of the game to finish the season 18-0 at home.

The Cougars finish the regular season on Saturday, March 9, when the Cougars host Oklahoma State at the Marriott Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT with coverage on ESPN2 and live play-by-play on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143, Radio app or KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.