BYU downs No. 7 Kansas: How Cougars overcame 12-point deficit to pull off unlikely road victory

The BYU Cougars pulled off the unlikely victory over No. 7 Kansas, winning 76-68 at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night after being down 12 points. It is the Jayhawks’ first loss at home this season and the second time KU has lost a conference game on a weekday in the Bill Self era.

BYU took advantage of the Kansas switch-five defense to pick on mismatches down the stretch and knock off the Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks were playing without star wing Kevin McCullar Jr., and its offense suffered in the second half. Kansas still might have survived if it had just made free throws. KU went just 19 of 31 from the free-throw line. Most notably, Hunter Dickinson missed his final six free throws and went 6 of 15 at the line.

The Cougars also sought out Dickinson, and sophomore guard Dallin Hall hit the back-breaking 3 over Dickinson with 1:34 left to put BYU ahead by five. BYU made 13-of-34 3s, while Kansas went 3 of 15 from distance.

This is a huge win for the Cougars, who have spent most of the year in the Top 25 but fell out on Monday after losing over the weekend at Kansas State. BYU struggled shooting the ball in the first half but just kept firing from 3, and its shooters were able to get great looks in the second half with Kansas switching screens. KU usually only switches one through four, but Self decided to switch everything to try to stay out on shooters. The Cougars eventually just started hunting Dickinson or playing through the post when a guard got switched onto a big. Once KU would bring extra help, the Cougars kicked it out for 3s.

Hall and senior guard Jaxson Robinson led the Cougars in scoring with 18 points each. Dickinson had a double-double, notching 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Jayhawks.

KU dominated in the paint, but BYU adjusted as the game went on, providing extra help in the paint. Kansas couldn’t make a jumper to make the Cougars pay. Johnny Furphy had several good looks but went 0 of 5 from deep and had two 3s go in and out. Nick Timberlake, who has been starting in place of McCullar, went just 1 of 6 from deep, including two misses in the final minute that could have cut the lead to three.

It’s unknown when McCullar, battling a knee injury, will return. Self said on Saturday that he wants McCullar to practice for a week before he returns. McCullar last played in a win on Feb. 17 at Oklahoma, but he struggled, going 4 of 14 from the field with three turnovers.

The Cougars (8-7 in the Big 12) moved into a tie for sixth place and a game back of Kansas and Baylor in third.

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(Photo: Denny Medley / USA Today)

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