BYU’s second half comeback not enough versus 4th ranked Houston

Unfortunately, it was not BYU’s night as it fell victim to Cougar on Cougar crime against Houston.

Despite being down double-digits in the second half, the Cougars were one, wide-open Trevin Knell three pointer away from taking a two point lead with 45 seconds left.

What went wrong?

Knell’s missed three wasn’t the sole reason for BYU’s loss. The Cougars struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 11 of 38 compared to Houston’s 10 of 15 effort. Furthermore, Houston attempted 14 more free throws than BYU.

BYU consistently was attempting contested threes rather than looking for the best possible shot, which ended up hurting the Cougars in the end.

Dallin Hall picking up a third foul before the end of the half was a killer for BYU. Hall had played his best half of conference play tonight in the first half and getting into foul trouble ruined his rhythm.

What went well?

Noah Waterman arguably had his most impressive performance of the season. He finished with a team-high 17 points and Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson had high praise for Waterman saying, “I don’t think Waterman took an easy three all night.”

Hall’s first half performance should not be overlooked. His decision making was at an elite level and he looked comfortable against the best defense in college basketball.

Fouss Traore being able to play closing minutes in arguably BYU’s biggest game of the season should give Cougar fans confidence going forward. He was able to make high impact plays in the biggest moments on tonights matchup after battling injury woes all season.

What needs to change?

Not as much as one might think. While the sting of a close loss at home to a top-four team is real, BYU can take solace in being just one shot away from victory.

When you shoot nearly 40 three pointers, shooting 28% from long range will not win you many games.

“We had some looks we loved but they just didn’t go in,” said head coach Mark Pope. This is what happens when you live and die by the three ball. One night you can look like the 2018 Golden State Warriors, the next you could look like the Washington Generals.

Lastly, BYU needs to find its “go-to” guy at the end of games. Eventually, when the game gets tight and the offense stalls, you need to find that guy you can trust to make the basket when it matters most. The Cougars have not found their “go-to” guy yet.

Looking ahead

BYU has fallen to 2-4 in the Big-12 and will have a chance to bounce back on Saturday at the Marriott Center versus Texas at 12 p.m. on ESPN2.

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