BYU makes late push to blow past the No. 24 Iowa State Cyclones

Johnson’s 28, Waterman’s 18 lead BYU to double-digit win over a ranked opponent.

(George Frey | AP) BYU forward Noah Waterman (0) lays the ball in past Iowa State guard Demarion Watson (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Provo.

Provo • BYU kept its foot on the gas and took down a top-25 opponent in the process.

The Cougars beat No. 24 Iowa State 87-72 on Tuesday night for their first Big 12 win at home.

No. 20 BYU was coming off a road win at Central Florida. But that was a victory that came with some unnecessary drama as the Cougars let a 13-point lead with eight minutes to go nearly slip away in the final minute.

This time, BYU never let up, closing on a 15-4 run.

Guard Spencer Johnson led all scorers with 28 points. Noah Waterman had 18.

“I think for me, it is really fun to watch this group grow,” head coach Mark Pope said. “It is really satisfying.”

The Cougars played without Trevin Knell — its most consistent Big 12 scorer. He was dealing with a foot injury. BYU made up for his missing shooting with Johnson and guard Dallin Hall. Johnson went four of nine from three. Hall hit three in the second half.

BYU also had 21 points in transition. In the first half, BYU was averaging almost two points a possession in transition and less than half a point in the halfcourt.

“They are really interesting because they are not letting you score in the paint,” Pope said. “Good thing, because we can’t score in the paint anyway.”

The Cougars will play at Texas Tech on Saturday. It returns home to play top-five Houston next week.