After practice Wednesday, BYU coach Mark Pope decided to have a chat with guard Jaxson Robinson.

Robinson, along with Noah Waterman and Atiki Ally Atiki, had been suspended in last week’s one-point loss to Saint Mary’s after breaking a team rule.

“We were 4 1⁄2 minutes into the second half and I turned and looked down the bench and Jax was giving me the big eyes. ‘Coach, you want to put me in the game?’ It’s actually super effective. I spent a lot of my life doing the same thing.” — Mark Pope on Jaxson Robinson

It marked the first game all year that Robinson hadn’t started for the Cougars.

But Pope was planning to tweak his starting lineup again — and he was going to let Robinson know that he would be coming off the bench for Thursday’s game against Loyola Marymount. 

Robinson’s reaction was one that Pope didn’t expect. 

“It’s one of my happiest moments coaching this year because Jax doesn’t really get animated. He got super angry at me,” Pope said. “You could hear it in his voice. ‘I don’t care about starting. I just want to play and go win.’ It was the perfect response to a conversation like that that usually goes so different.

“The fact that’s how he felt and the emotion he expressed, then he came and played this way (Thursday), one of the things we’re blessed with is we’re super young but we have tremendous character on this team. It’s pretty great.”

In BYU’s 89-61 victory over LMU — snapping the Cougars’ three-game losing streak — Robinson scored 13 points, including 3 of 4 from 3-point territory and 5 of 9 from the floor. He scored 10 of those points in the first half and finished with three rebounds and an assist.

“We were 412 minutes into the second half and I turned and looked down the bench and Jax was giving me the big eyes,” Pope said. “‘Coach, you want to put me in the game?’ It’s actually super effective. I spent a lot of my life doing the same thing.”

What was Robinson’s approach going into the LMU game, after not playing since a loss at San Francisco on Jan. 21?

“My team needed me in whatever way I could come out and produce,” he said. “I just came out with a positive mindset, ready to play, ready to help my guys. I had their back. It showed (Thursday).”

Related
How BYU snapped its 3-game losing streak with a resounding 89-61 victory over LMU
3 keys to BYU’s win over Loyola Marymount

Robinson is shooting 35% from 3-point range this season and has endured some slumps. He’s hit 7 of his last 12. 

“I just shoot the ball. I’m confident in my shot. Just staying confident is the key,” Robinson said. “Just staying confident, hours in the gym, staying in there, I mean, it’s paying off. It’s good to see.”

Now, Robinson and the Cougars are hoping to continue winning. 

BYU hosts Pacific Saturday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv). The Tigers, riding a two-game winning streak, defeated Pepperdine 81-72 at home Thursday. 

Cougars on the air


Pacific (12-12, 5-4)
at BYU (15-10, 5-5) 
Saturday, 7 p.m. MST
Marriott Center
TV: BYUtv
Radio: BYU Radio/1160 AM


The Cougars downed Pacific 69-49 in their West Coast Conference opener Dec. 29. 

Pacific is led by guards Keylan Boone (12.8 points per game) and Luke Avdalovic (10.4 ppg). 

View Comments

The Cougars, meanwhile, had a season-low seven turnovers against LMU. 

“We’re just getting better. We’re excited to keep pushing,” Pope said. “We’ve got a little bit of time left and hopefully we can continue to get better. It was important (Thursday) to be under 10.”

Robinson loved what he saw from his team against the Lions. 

“All the guys did an amazing job,” he said. “We came out and executed and got the ‘W.’ That’s all that matters.”

BYU guard Spencer Johnson shoots a 3-pointer during game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. | Ryan Sun, Deseret News
Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.