With BYU trailing by 17 points at halftime against TCU on Saturday night and looking nothing like the team that upset No. 7 Kansas four nights previous, a keyboard warrior suggested on social media that if BYU’s Mark Pope is really the coach he’s cracked up to be, he would lead his team to a victory.

The hot take seemed a bit harsh, considering how TCU was absolutely dominating the game, had the Cougars playing on their heels and seemed far too physical, long and athletic for BYU.

The situation for those in Cougar blue looked hopeless.

But if this BYU team has shown us anything the last four months, it is that it never loses hope, or its ability to drastically change games with 3-point shooting.

“Our response is the main thing,” point guard Dallin Hall told BYUtv. “I feel like that is something that has defined us all year.”

In another of those gut-check comebacks that are starting to define this magical first season in the Big 12, BYU outscored TCU by 29 points in the second half and cruised to a 87-75 win in front of a sellout crowd of 17,978 at the Marriott Center.

It was the biggest comeback win in Pope’s five-year tenure, and came on the heels of arguably the biggest win of his stint in Provo, the 76-68 win over Kansas.

“They were incredibly tough tonight and I am just really happy for them,” Pope said of his players.

Toughness has always been a calling card of TCU coach Jamie Dixon’s teams, and that was evident in the first half when the Frogs beat the Cougars to all the 50-50 balls, dominated the glass and had 17 fast break points.

“We were getting out-toughed every play in the first half,” Pope said.

BYU was the tougher team in the second half, however. By a mile.

“We play with a lot of freedom, and it hurts us at times, and tonight was one of those times,” Dixon said. “They did the things they wanted to. They got to the foul line more. We have to get to the foul line more. We didn’t.”

For one of the rare times this season, BYU got more free throws — 21 to 11. The Cougars made 14, the Frogs nine.

Fouss Traore and Trevin Knell combined for 41 points to lead BYU, while Hall chipped in 12 and had seven assists and six rebounds with just one turnover.

Richie Saunders chipped in 11 points off the bench and was the catalyst for the second-half comeback, along with Traore, who was 8 of 11 from the field and a man among boys down low.

“It was a huge win for us. We played with a little bit more of an edge because of how the AP voters left us out of the top 25,” Knell told the BYU Sports Radio Network.

“And people picked us to finish 13th in the league. We haven’t forgotten anything. We keep our receipts. We will keep this edge.”

Knell opened the second half with a 3-pointer that “calmed us all down a little bit,” Pope said, and then knocked down three more as BYU went on a 15-0 run to get back in it.

TCU answered with a 7-0 run, and when Trevian Tennyson made a 3-point play with 9:21 left to give TCU a 62-55 lead, it appeared the visitors had righted their ship and were returning to the kind of play that helped them build the 46-29 halftime lead.

Then Traore started bulling his way inside, Jaxson Robinson finally got hot and the Marriott magic returned.

“These guys put a show on and I am so proud of them and so happy for them,” Pope said. “Hopefully that’s something they will put in their pocket and believe in more and more.”

It was quite the week for the Cougars (9-7, 21-8), who will surely jump back into the top 25. Don’t look now, but the team picked to finish 13th in the league has moved into a three-way tie (with Kansas and Texas Tech) for fourth place in the Big 12, with two regular-season games remaining.

Up next is a Wednesday matchup at No. 8 Iowa State, followed by Senior Night on Saturday against Oklahoma State.

The difference on this Saturday night was energy — and 3-point shooting; TCU had both in the first half, while BYU had both in the second half.

History repeated itself. BYU trailed Kansas by 12 in the second half before rallying for the win, and did it again Saturday against a visiting team that seemingly couldn’t miss in the first half.

Time and again, this team has showed incredible character, and it is suddenly playing better in second halves than first halves, which was the opposite in the first half of league play.

“I feel like we really proved ourselves at Kansas, winning on the road,” Knell said.

Credit the Marriott Center crowd for spurring the comeback, but one also has to wonder if the altitude caught up to the Frogs. The visitors seemingly ran out of gas.

TCU was 7 of 10 from deep in the first half, but only 1 of 6 from long range in the second half. Conversely, BYU was 1 of 13 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes, then flipped a switch, remarkably, and was 8 of 15 from deep in the second half.

TCU was scoring with ease in the first half, then got only four fast break points in the final 20 minutes.

“We couldn’t have done this without them,” Pope said of the Marriott Center crowd. Despite a snowstorm pounding the Wasatch Front on Saturday afternoon, nearly every seat was filled.

“This just shows how hard it is to win on the road in the Big 12,” Knell said, crediting TCU for being the fastest team the Cougars have played in a while.

It was BYU’s 17th straight win over TCU — dating back to their days in the WAC and Mountain West conferences — and the Cougars’ fifth straight home win.

“I hope we can all be in the moment,” Pope said, “because this is pretty awesome.”