Spencer Johnson scored a career-high 28 points and No. 20 BYU routed No. 24 Iowa State 87-72 on Tuesday night in front of 15,491 fans at the Marriott Center.

The victory improved BYU’s Big 12 record to 2-2 and overall record to 14-3 and was the Cougars’ first Big 12 home win; Iowa State fell to 2-2 and 13-4.

The Cougars stretched a 39-35 halftime lead to 10 with a 3-pointer by Dallin Hall some five minutes into the second half and were never really threatened in the final 20 minutes.

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

Keshon Gilbert led ISU with 16 points.

Here are 3 keys to BYU’s 87-72 Big 12 win:

  • Iowa State was said to be the better defensive team, but the Cougars were the ones who clamped down defensively, particularly in the second half. Iowa State was 11 of 31 in the second half after shooting over 50% in the first half. The Cyclones also committed 13 turnovers, to just 11 for BYU.
  • The Cyclones flexed their muscle at the rim in the absence of a couple BYU post players, and shot 54% (15 of 28) in the first half to stay within striking distance. The Cougars shot 39% in the first half and took a 39-35 lead at the break, thanks to seven 3-pointers and an 8 of 11 effort from the free-throw line. Iowa State got just four free throws in the first half, making two.

BYU continued to parade to the free-throw line in the second half as well, and finished 20 of 24 from the stripe, both season-highs.

  • BYU coach Mark Pope had to tighten his rotation considerably because Trevin Knell (foot) and Fousseyni Traore (hamstring) were unable to play due to injury. UC Irvine transfer Dawson Baker and freshman Marcus Adams remain out as well.

Spencer Johnson picked up the slack in the first half, scoring 19 points in 17 minutes of play. He was 6 of 12 from the field, 3 of 8 from the 3-point line and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line. His 3-pointer with 9:23 left gave BYU a 67-50 lead and Johnson his career-high.