Takeaways From BYU’s Historic Win Over Kansas At Allen Fieldhouse

Feb 27, 2024, 10:58 PM

BYU Basketball, Jaxson Robinson, Kansas Jayhawks

LAWRENCE, Kan. – BYU basketball did what no one in the Big 12 Conference does: win at Allen Fieldhouse.

For only the 18th time since Bill Self became the head coach at Kansas in 2004, Kansas lost inside its home gym. It’s the first time since 2018 that Kansas lost to an unranked team at home.

BYU’s 76-68 win ends an 87-game winning streak for Kansas when leading at the half.

Everything pointed against BYU in this contest, yet they emerged victorious and achieved a monumental victory.

Here are some takeaways from the game.

BYU Stayed Resilient

BYU was down by 12 points to Kansas with 18:28 remaining in the game after the Jayhawks popped off a quick 6-0 run in the second half. It looked like BYU’s chance to pull off an upset at that moment was slipping away.

But they stayed resilient.

BYU continued to play the aggressive style they’ve been known for this season. They were firing up three-pointers and picking their spots to attack the rim.

At no point was BYU fazed by the deficit.

There were moments in the game when BYU was down by two and they couldn’t get over the hump. Richie Saunders missed a pair of shots, Aly Khalifa had missed midrange looks. But BYU kept battling.

For a team that was blitzed on the road at Kansas State and Oklahoma State, two of the worst teams in the conference this year, to stay calm and collected at Allen Fieldhouse was impressive.

BYU basketball has arrived in the Big 12 Conference

Earlier in the week, Kansas head coach Bill Self was asked by local reporters if this matchup with BYU felt like a nonconference game because of the unfamiliarity with the program.

It was the first time BYU appeared in Allen Fieldhouse since 1971. So that’s to be understood. But it also speaks to how no one has truly taken BYU seriously in the Big 12 this season.

That changed on Tuesday night.

Teams will go years, sometimes decades, without taking down Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse. Just ask Oklahoma who’s exiting for the SEC. They haven’t won in this gym since the 1990s.

BYU basketball emphatically punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, which was already punched. But maybe more importantly, they gained instant credibility from the people who are at the heart of Big 12 basketball.

From a brand and narrative, this win carries significant weight for BYU.

Head coach Mark Pope told me in Kansas City at Big 12 Media Days last October that his team would make a splash in this league. You can make no bigger splash than defeating Kansas on its home floor.

Jaxson Robinson and Dallin Hall were clutch

Two shots defined this win for BYU. And both were from the leading scorers.

Jaxson Robinson buried a three with 12:11 remaining after Spencer Johnson picked off a Kansas pass. Robinson had no rebounders under the hoop, gathered himself, fired off a three confidently, and buried it home.

Then, with 1:31 remaining, Dallin Hall at the top of the arc and with Hunter Dickinson in his face hit a three that felt BYU could truly pull off the upset.

It was a big-time performance from a pair of players working hard to lead this BYU team to new heights.

Both players finished with 18 points. I have to imagine NBA scouts were impressed with not only Robinson but the play of Hall, who rose to the occasion in one of college basketball’s biggest stages.

Three-point shooting continues to be the difference for BYU

BYU finished Tuesday night, knocking down 13 of their 34 three-point attempts. By comparison, Kansas only hit three 3-pointers on 15 attempts.

Earlier in the week, Bill Self hypothetically said if BYU knocks down 13 threes and we only hit three, that’s a difference of 30 points.

Well, Coach Self spoke it into existence, as that transpired on Tuesday.

Noah Waterman had an underrated performance from three-point range. The 6-foot-11 forward hit two threes. His one on the wing added momentum to BYU’s push to take over the lead.

The return of BYU’s Top 25 defense

For the past two weeks, BYU’s defense was missing. They were giving up season-high point totals to Oklahoma State and UCF. There was a lot to be concerned about.

Early on against Kansas on Tuesday, KJ Adams looked to be a matchup nightmare for BYU basketball as they had no one who could hang with him. Through the first half, Adams had nine points.

But in the second half, he only had two points and that came off a second chance opportunity.

BYU’s defense tightened up and limited Kansas’ looks at the basket. It didn’t hurt that Hunter Dickinson had a stretch where he missed four consecutive free throws, leaving foul-riddled possessions to go empty-handed for the Jayhawks.

But BYU forced Kansas into 11 turnovers compared to BYU’s seven. That’s going to put you in a spot to win ball games.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Takeaways From BYU’s Historic Win Over Kansas At Allen Fieldhouse