NC State’s full court pressure bothered BYU early and helped them jump out to an early double-digit lead in the first five minutes. BYU’s defense tightened up in the first half to go into the half with a manageable 5-point deficit.
Atiki Ally Atiki was suspended for punching an Arizona State player, and things looked bad early on when Fouss exited the game with a hamstring injury. 6-foot-11 Charlotte transfer Aly Khalifa has been battling a knee injury and wasn’t supposed to play this tournament as he looked to fully recover, but he was thrust into action and gave BYU 27 big minutes. It took some time for him to get going, but the “Egyptian Magician” showed in the second half why he is arguably the best passing big man in the country. Aly finished with 5 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists that included some highlights passes. Aly had barely practiced the last few weeks.
BYU as a team had a spectacular shooting night, shooting 57% from the floor and 42% from three. Five BYU players scored in double figures, led by 23 points from Jaxson Robinson. Noah Waterman had 15 points, Hall and Knell each scored 13, and Spencer Johnson added 11 points. BYU came into the game #1 nationally in threes made per game and backed that up with 14 made threes on the night.
BYU is already top 10 in KenPom, and should absolutely be ranked in Monday’s AP Top 25 poll with a 6-0 start that includes wins over San Diego State, Arizona State, and NC State. BYU next plays Fresno State in the Delta Center next Friday night.
BYU ends November undefeated, and a road game at Utah December 9 is the main obstacle between a potential 13-0 non-conference record before BYU begins Big 12 play.