BYU bounced back after the Vanderbilt loss to beat Liberty 80-75 Christmas afternoon in the Diamond Head Classic Third Place game.
BYU was cold from outside, but dominated the paint and the rebounding battle. Fousseyni Traore got the start and responded with a career high 19 points and grabbed 13 boards. Trevin Knell added 15 points and Te’Jon Lucas scored 11.
BYU shot just 3-19 from three, but grabbed 10 offensive boards and won the rebounding battle 34-23. Foul shooting partially offset a poor outside shooting night, as BYU was 29-35 from the foul line.
BYU now moves to 11-3 on the season and has a game next week versus Westminster before opening WCC play New Year’s Day at Portland. Losing to Vanderbilt is a bummer, but BYU did enough in non-conference play to put themselves in a good position to make the NCAA Tournament. The WCC is as good as ever, meaning BYU will have more chances at Quad One/Two wins than previous seasons.