No. 14 BYU blows out Evansville 96-55 to open 8-0
PROVO, Utah (AP) — Jaxon Robinson scored 19 points and No. 14 BYU routed Evansville 96-55 on Tuesday night to remain undefeated.
Trevin Knell had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Cougars. Noah Waterman added 12 points and eight rebounds. Dallin Hall finished with 10 points, seven assists and six boards.
BYU (8-0) shot 53% from the field and made 14 3-pointers. The Cougars had three separate runs of 12-0 or better.
“We trust each other and it’s super fun,” Knell said. “The offense is fun right now.”
Yacine Toumi led Evansville with 13 points and Antonio Thomas added 10. The Purple Aces (7-2) averaged 85.6 points over their first eight games before being shut down by BYU. They shot just 33% from the field.
Aly Khalifa made back-to-back baskets to ignite a 17-0 run that gave BYU a 26-10 lead midway through the first half. The Cougars made six straight baskets in three minutes to build a comfortable cushion.
A prolonged shooting drought opened the door for BYU’s decisive run. Evansville missed seven consecutive field goal attempts and committed three turnovers during a six-minute stretch.
“You give a good team an inch, they’ll take a mile, and that’s what they did,” Evansville coach David Ragland said. “On the road, you have to be 15 points better than the other team. You can’t spot them any kind of lead, especially a really good team like BYU.”
Evansville trimmed the deficit to 31-22 on back-to-back baskets from Thomas. But the Purple Aces got no closer after scoring a single basket over the final six minutes of the first half as the Cougars pulled away again.
Robinson and Knell combined for three straight 3-pointers to spark a 25-4 run spanning both halves that gave BYU a 60-29 lead with 16:20 left.
Even with a big rivalry game against Utah looming this weekend, the Cougars never eased off the gas pedal or got caught looking ahead to the Utes.
“Our guys are kind of lost in the details right now and that’s what makes this super fun,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “I’ve never coached a team that has gone on a run like this where they just have been totally focused on the objective on the court. They haven’t been distracted by the game. They haven’t been distracted by the opponent. They haven’t been distracted by rankings or media or wins.”
BYU is 30-2 under Pope when holding an opponent below 60 points. The Cougars have held five of their eight opponents this season under that total.
Knell points to maturity and a blue-collar attitude for fueling the continued defensive success.
“We have such a tight-knit culture and I think that culture is really growing into something really special,” Knell said.
Evansville: After taking a one-point lead five minutes into the game, the Purple Aces endured numerous scoring droughts and struggled to find any consistent rhythm against BYU’s tough defense.
BYU: Once again, the Cougars stifled an opponent on the perimeter and the glass while scoring at will on the other end of the court.
Evansville visits Bellarmine on Dec. 16.
BYU plays at Utah on Saturday.
Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball