Fousseyni Traore leads No. 21 BYU past Kansas State

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Fousseyni Traore collected a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds, helping lead No. 21 BYU to a 72-66 win over Kansas State on Saturday in Provo, Utah.

Jaxson Robinson and Spencer Johnson added 12 points apiece for the Cougars (17-6, 5-5 Big 12), who won their third game in the last four tries. Noah Waterman scored 11 for BYU, followed by Trevin Knell’s 10.

Arthur Kaluma led Kansas State (15-9, 5-6) with 18 points, while Cam Carter scored 14. Will McNair Jr. grabbed a team-leading 10 boards for the Wildcats, who have dropped five out of their last six games.

Leading by nine at halftime, BYU jumped out to a 45-32 lead with 16:32 left, thanks to a pair of triples from Waterman and Johnson.

From there, Kansas State’s Dorian Finister split two free throws, which was followed by Traore’s layup, giving the Cougars a 47-33 advantage with 15:15 remaining.

The teams then traded two points at a time for six minutes before Robinson’s 3-pointer extended BYU’s lead to 58-41 with 9:11 left.

Waterman’s triple with 5:58 remaining gave the Cougars a 64-48 lead, but was answered with a 9-0 Wildcats run. Kansas State trailed by just five with 3:43 left.

Dallin Hall’s free throw with 2:45 left gave BYU a 65-59 lead, marking the Cougars’ first points since Waterman’s triple.

Trailing by five, Kaluma’s 3-pointer cut BYU’s advantage to just two with 1:11 left.

Robinson answered with a triple on the ensuing possession, giving the Cougars a five-point lead. Kaluma’s layup then trimmed the deficit to three with 32 seconds left, but Johnson dribbled past Kaluma the next time down the court for an uncontested layup that clinched the BYU victory.

BYU led 21-19 with 7:31 remaining in the first half, before the Cougars went on a 6-0 run, capped with a pair of Traore free throws at the 6:30 mark.

Kaluma’s three-point play snapped a scoring drought for Kansas State, cutting the Wildcats’ deficit to five with 4:34 remaining.

Once again, Kaluma’s layup at the 3:02 mark of the first half shrunk BYU’s lead to five points, before buckets from Knell and Johnson grew the Cougars’ lead to 36-27 at the half.

The teams meet again Feb. 24 at Kansas State.