BYU’s Fousseyni Traore (45) dunks the ball during the Cougars’ 90-61 win over Lindenwood on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, at the Marriott Center.
Sione Faupula, BYU
BYU kept up its winning ways Tuesday evening at the Marriott Center, coasting past Lindenwood 90-61 and earning its ninth victory on the year.
“I’m … pleased with the mentality that our guys are walking into the game with,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “Hopefully we will keep going in that direction.”
Things have been going in the right direction for the Cougars of late, as the win gives the team a fourth straight victory. Lindenwood is the first school in that span of four wins to have a losing record when it faced BYU.
The Cougars were coming off a third consecutive victory over Utah, entering their matchup with the Lions. That game saw BYU snap the Utes’ five-game win streak and hand its rival just their third setback of the season.
Tuesday night BYU continued its impressive play as the Cougars won by double digits for the fourth time this year. BYU’s 90 points is the third time the school has reached that total this season.
After trailing midway through the first half, the Cougars took charge of the game with a 15-3 run that gave them the lead for good.
BYU bolstered its advantage early in the second half, scoring 11 quick points and pushing its lead to 22 just 2:12 into the period. The lead grew from there, the Cougars going ahead by as many as 30.
“I feel like coming out of the second half we really dug in,” said freshman guard Dallin Hall, who finished the game with a career-high nine assists and no turnovers. “Defensively we got out and ran in transition and started playing our kind of basketball and didn’t let them dictate what we did. And after that, we really got rolling and we locked into the game plan.”
Fousseyni Traore powered the BYU offense, scoring eight of the Cougars’ first 14 points and finishing with 21 in just 19 minutes. The sophomore forward’s 21 points matched his season high.
“It’s a dream come true for a point guard,” Hall said of Traore’s reliability in the paint. “Fouss is an incredible player. He’s always going to make the right play down there. He’s very unselfish. … Just to know that when we can get it to him in his spot, he’s going to be able to score, it’s really good for our team because you know we can shoot the ball really well; we’ve shown flashes of that. But when we get in those tough spells, it’s amazing to know we’ve got an All-American player down there in the post.”
The Cougars shot the ball well from beyond the arc Tuesday, scoring as many 3s in the first half against Lindenwood as they did in the entire game against Utah. BYU finished the contest with 12 made 3s on 42.9% shooting from deep.
Jaxson Robinson and Rudi Williams combined to go seven for seven from 3, Robinson leading the way for the Cougars with four triples.
“He can impact the game in so many different ways,” Pope said of Robinson. “The goal for him, and we’ve been talking about it the last few weeks, is to … have … making or missing shots be the last thing we talk about when we’re evaluating your game. … I think he’s starting to try and feel that and embrace it.”
Pope was also pleased with Hall’s night and the growth he has seen from his freshman point guard.
“Dallin Hall is an unbelievable leader,” the BYU coach said. “He just wants to take in so much information. … Incredibly, it’s not overwhelming him, which is … not very common.”
Tuesday marked the first time that BYU and Lindenwood had played each other, as the Lions just reclassified to the Division I ranks this season.
The game was BYU’s seventh contest at the Marriott Center. The school has played in only one true road game all year. The win over the Lions moves the Cougars to 6-1 in Provo.
BYU will again play at home when it hosts Weber State Thursday night in the Cougars’ fourth consecutive week with a contest against an in-state foe. BYU is 2-1 this year in games played against opponents from Utah.