BYU uses scorching hot second-half to down TCU 87-75

A 17-point comeback.

58 second-half points.

20-2 run in the 2nd half.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Horned Frogs from TCU left the court, looking defeated and hanging their heads. The sellout crowd at the Marriott Center was deafening as yells and cheers of approval and hysteria rained down on Mark Pope’s squad after a thrilling win.

“That was one of the most exciting wins I’ve witnessed while in Provo,” said avid BYU fan Landon Hagberg. “That’s a game I will never forget.”

BYU Fans Celebrating During Win VS TCU (Photo by Karina Meyer)

To start the game, BYU was rolling on the offensive end. The Cougars made their first three baskets and showed no signs of slowing down. Until they did. After a series of BYU turnovers and TCU fast break baskets, the Cougars quickly found themselves in a 12-point deficit and struggling to right the ship.

A Richie Saunders dunk and a Spencer Johnson layup were the only points the Cougars could manage over the final six minutes of the first half and had allowed the Horned Frogs to finish the half on a 13-4 run.

Walking into the halftime locker room, BYU found themselves in a 17-point hole that seemed insurmountable after an abysmal 20 minutes of basketball where the Cougars shot just 7% from the three-point line and 44% from the free-throw line.

“Sometimes we mistake toughness for yelling, screaming, fouling, grabbing and punching. But real toughness is the ability to focus when everything around you is going sideways and you don’t even feel right yourself,” Pope said.

Tonight, BYU’s toughness was on full display.

The comeback

The second half was where Trevin Knell and Fousseyni Traore took matters into their own hands and willed the Cougars back into the game. Knell came out on fire hitting three shots from behind the arc while Fouss netted 15 of his 21 points after halftime.

Trevin Knell makes a three-pointer against TCU (photo by Karina Meyer)

“That’s what he does. He hits shots,” said sophomore guard Saunders about Knell. “It’s fun to watch and to be on the court with him.”

Not only did the offense come out of halftime firing on all cylinders, but BYU’s defense went to another level as well.

“On the defensive end, there’s so many opportunities to hit. Say somebody’s coming down the lane, you can get them out of their rhythm,” Saunders said. “That was one of our focuses and with that focus, was the execution in the second half.”

That execution resulted in only 29 points from the Horned Frogs in the second half and only one three-pointer after they nailed seven in the first 20 minutes of play.

BYU played their best half of basketball all season at the perfect time. Not only does this win secure at least one bye in the Big 12 Tournament next week, but the Cougars are now tied with Texas Tech for the last double-bye spot in the conference tournament.

Love from Cougar Nation

The fans in the Marriott Center weren’t the only members of Cougar Nation enjoying the massive comeback. X was alive and well during BYU’s big win with several fans voicing their excitement.

Looking ahead

As the regular season winds down, the Cougars have their work cut out for them down the stretch. BYU will travel to Ames, Iowa, on Wednesday where Iowa State will be hungry for revenge after a lopsided loss in Provo earlier this season. Then, the Cougars return home on Saturday for their regular-season finale, a rematch against Oklahoma State, who upset BYU in Stillwater the first time they played.

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