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Turnover-prone BYU set to face turnover-producing Nicholls

The Cougars host Nicholls Saturday before heading to the Bahamas to participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis next week

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BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope watches

BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope looks lon as the Cougars play San Francisco in the 2022 West Coast Conference men’s basketball quarterfinals at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 5, 2022. The Cougars need to tighten things up offensively when Nicholls pays the Marriott Center a visit Saturday night.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

In three games, BYU has won a pair of nail-biters at home — against Idaho State and Missouri State — and squandered a 10-point second-half lead in a loss at No. 17 San Diego State.

The Cougars entertain Nicholls Saturday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv) before heading to the Bahamas to participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis next week. 

BYU edged Missouri State 66-64 Wednesday as forward Noah Waterman made 5 of 6 3-pointers for a team-high 15 points, Atiki Ally Atiki grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, and freshman guard Dallin Hall scored the game-winning jumper with 1.4 seconds remaining. 

The Cougars, who turned the ball over 43 times in their first two games, made marked improvement Wednesday. They had 10 turnovers in the first half but just three in the second half. 

“I’m trying to keep pushing pace and keep pushing freedom,” said coach Mark Pope. “We’re going to steamroll through this turnover issue. We’re just going to do it.”

BYU also recorded nine blocks against the Bears, including three by Gideon George. 

Saturday, the Cougars take on Nicholls, located in Thibodaux, Louisiana. The Colonels are members of the Southland Conference. 

Nicholls opened the season with losses at No. 17 Arizona (117-75) and at Wyoming (79-68). 

Considering BYU’s troubles with turnovers, this matchup could be interesting — Nicholls ranks No. 12 in the nation in steals per game (12.5) and No. 14 in turnovers forced per game (22). 

The Colonels are led by Indiana State transfer Micah Thomas, who averages 21 points per game. Thomas leads the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at 88.9% (8 of 9 on the season). 

Nicholls’ coach is Austin Claunch, who is the second-youngest head coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.

This marks the second all-time meeting between BYU and Nicholls. The two programs met on Dec. 10, 1993, in Provo and the Cougars won 111-96.

Cougars on the air

Nicholls (0-2)

at BYU (2-1) 

Saturday, 7 p.m. MST

Marriott Center


Radio: BYU Radio/1160 AM