NASSAU, Bahamas (ABC4 Sports) – Despite a double-double by Fousseyni Traore, the BYU basketball team lost its second straight game in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.
Jayden Taylor scored 20 points, Eric Hunter Jr. added 19 points and Butler defeated BYU 75-70 in Thursday’s consolation round at Battle 4 Atlantis.
“Congratulations to Butler, I thought they made some really big plays down the track,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “I was proud of our boys. I thought we won in many areas where we wanted to win but just couldn’t win the game. We will keep getting better.”
Traore finished with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, 5-of-6 from the charity streak while catching 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Traore had five offensive boards, four assists and two steals that night.
Gideon George and Rudi Williams also finished BYU in double digits with 14 and 12 points, respectively. George had six rebounds, three steals and two assists, while Williams went 50 percent from the field and assisted on two points for the Cougars.
The Cougars shot 41.8 percent from the ground on the night but struggled behind the arc and went 3 of 20 from downtown. BYU scored 46 of their 70 points in the color, forced 16 turnovers that converted to 21 points, and grabbed 20 second-chance points from 17 offensive rebounds in the five-point loss.
While BYU trailed the Bulldogs 6-5, Butler took the lead with an 8-0 run to take a 14-5 lead at 15-23 in the first half. The Cougars countered with back-to-back hits from Traore and a fast-break layup from Richie Saunders to reduce Butler’s lead to five.
By the U12 timeout, the Bulldogs had again extended the lead to nine, 20–11, but the Cougars cut it to five courtesies of a Noah Waterman triple and Atiki free throws from Ally Atiki with 6:32 to play in the first game.
After BYU reduced the Butler advantage to three, the Bulldogs regained a nine-point lead with three straight possessions, 3:40 to go in the first game. From the under-4 media timeout, the Cougars cut the lead to six with a layup by Saunders and a fade-away jumper by Williams.
Butler grabbed a second-chance bucket in the first half with 58 seconds left to go into the break with a seven-point lead.
Traore blocked Butler’s first shot of the second half and found Williams for a fast break layup. On the ensuing possession, George pulled an offensive rebound and backtracked on Williams, who knocked down BYU’s second three of the game to go 18-56 to two.
On the next three possessions, George got a steal and carried it the length of the floor for the score, Jaxson Robinson hit a three and Traore hit a jump hook to take a 42-37 lead.
After an Ally Atiki-Make gave BYU a one-point lead, the Bulldogs went 54-48 on a 9-2 run and took a 54-48 lead with 11:20 left. After the Cougars lost six, Traore and Williams cut the lead to two, but Butler again extended the lead to eight with a 5-10 to play.
With 3:11 left, Robinson found Traore deep down, whose kiss off the glass put BYU to a three. On Butler’s next possession, George pulled out a pass and found Williams with a 3-on-1 that drew the Cougars in one.
The Bulldogs hit a three with 2:08 to play to win four before George hit a three the old-fashioned way to bring the lead back to one with 1:54 left.
George tried to level the game with 18 seconds left but the shot went just wide allowing the Bulldogs to wrap up a 75-70 free throw win.
BYU plays Dayton in the seventh-place game at 1:30 p.m. Friday