PROVO, Utah (AP) Spencer Johnson scored a career-high 28 points to lead No. 20 BYU to an 87-72 victory over No. 24 Iowa State on Tuesday night.

Johnson shot 62% from the field and also had nine rebounds and five assists. His third 20-point game of the season gave the Cougars a much-needed lift with Trevin Knell sidelined with a foot injury he suffered against UCF.

“The ball just found the right guy,” Johnson said. “It just happened to be me tonight.”

Noah Waterman added 18 points and Jaxson Robinson chipped in 15 for the Cougars.

Dallin Hall tallied 11 points and a team-high eight assists to help BYU (14-3, 2-2 Big 12) beat Iowa State for the first time in seven meetings between the schools.

Keshon Gilbert led the Cyclones with 16 points and Milan Momcilovic added 11 points. Iowa State (13-4, 2-2) shot just 36% from the field in the second half and committed 13 turnovers, leading to 17 points for BYU.

The Cyclones never led after halftime after picking up several quick fouls, which allowed BYU to get to the free-throw line repeatedly early in the second half.

“That put us in a tough spot,” Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “They were physically the more aggressive team.”

The Cougars had a 21-8 edge in fastbreak points and made 13 3-pointers. BYU played at a fast tempo for the bulk of 40 minutes despite having a shortened rotation. Only seven players played for the Cougars because Knell and Fousseyni Traore both sat out with injuries.

“It was everything for us,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “It’s interesting because in a game where we have a really limited rotation, our guys managed to find the energy to really keep pushing the ball.”

Johnson scored six baskets and had 19 points before halftime. His final first-half basket, a transition 3-pointer from the top of the key, gave the Cougars a 37-30 lead. The senior guard accounted for 50% of BYU’s field goals over the first 20 minutes.

The Cyclones connected on 54% of their first-half field goal attempts but started flat in the second half, missing six straight shots over a 4 1/2-minute stretch before Robert Jones and Gilbert made back-to-back baskets to end the drought.

BYU seized the opportunity to pull away. The Cougars ripped off a 14-5 run, highlighted by Johnson’s layup off a steal and a corner 3, to extend the lead to 70-52 with 8:19 left.

“They play with such great rhythm and pace offensively,” Otzelberger said. “They were able to do that all night. They dictated things that got the foul count high.”

BYU tallied 21 assists on 27 baskets. It marked the first time in Big 12 play that the Cougars dished out 20 or more assists in a game.

“We really passed the ball well, played really unselfish,” Waterman said.


Iowa State struggled to get anything going on offense after halftime. The Cyclones made six baskets through the first 14 minutes of the second half and went 0 of 6 from 3-point range in that stretch.

BYU made a point of consistently attacking the rim and getting to the free-throw line rather than simply settling for 3-pointers on numerous possessions. It paid off for the Cougars, who went 20 of 24 from the line.


Iowa State visits TCU on Saturday.

BYU visits Texas Tech on Saturday night.


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