PROVO, Utah (AP) Fousseyni Traore scored 19 points and Jaxson Robinson added 17 to lead No. 20 BYU to an 85-71 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday night.

Spencer Johnson had 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Cougars. BYU (22-9, 10-8 Big 12) earned its sixth straight home win and clinched the fifth seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.

That represented a huge achievement for the Cougars, picked to finish 13th out of 14 teams in their inaugural Big 12 season.

“This league for us is all about the chase,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “I do think we have a bunch of guys who are hungry on the chase right now.”

Low expectations greeted the Cougars after they also finished fifth in their final season in the West Coast Conference. BYU defied those expectations with an experienced team that gelled offensively early and embraced the challenge of playing as an underdog in the Big 12.

“Being in the Big 12 requires you to play that much harder, be that more consistent, be smarter all about the little things that matter,” Robinson said.

Javon Small led Oklahoma State with 34 points, including 29 of his team’s 42 in the second half. The Cowboys (12-19, 4-14) dropped their fifth consecutive game and will be the 13th seed in the league tournament.

BYU broke open a close game by opening the second half with a 16-2 run. Johnson, Aly Khalifa and Trevin Knell combined to drain four 3-pointers over a four-minute span to give the Cougars a 48-31 lead.

“We just had some blown coverages that we really didn’t have in the first half,” Cowboys coach Mike Boynton said.

Oklahoma State took nearly four minutes to score its first second-half basket and end the run.

BYU led by 25 when Robinson bookended a 10-0 run with a pair of baskets, putting the Cougars up 62-37 midway through the second half. Careless turnovers and lackadaisical defense by BYU aided an Oklahoma State comeback.

Small made five straight baskets to cut the deficit in half. Justin McBride then converted a 3-point play to cap a 20-5 run that trimmed BYU’s lead to 67-57.

“His aggressiveness is what we really needed,” Boynton said about Small’s second-half performance. “Obviously, we would have liked to play better defense. But because we didn’t do that, we needed somebody to kind of take the lead to keep up with them offensively.”

The Cowboys drew no closer after Traore and Dallin Hall stopped the run with back-to-back baskets.

“We didn’t get on our heels,” Johnson said. “We stood on our toes and we attacked their press and we kept shooting and we were rebounding. It was fun.”

Robinson attacked the rim frequently to help BYU weather inconsistent first-half offense. The senior guard made back-to-back layups and converted a pair of 3-point plays over a five-minute stretch to put the Cougars in front midway through the half.

“He’s a great player and he’s making massive strides every single day,” Pope said. “It’s incredible to watch him grow.”

BYU eventually extended its lead to 26-17 on back-to-back baskets from Noah Waterman and Knell. Oklahoma State cut the deficit to a basket before halftime, drawing within 32-29 on buckets from Brandon Garrison and Eric Dailey Jr. in the final 1:06 of the half.


Oklahoma State never figured things out on offense until late, ending any realistic shot at earning its second true road victory of the season.

BYU dominated offensively after halftime, aside from a few careless possessions. The Cougars shot 69% from the field over the final 20 minutes while knocking down eight 3-pointers.


Oklahoma State will play UCF in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Tuesday.

BYU will face the winner of the UCF-Oklahoma State game in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday.


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