Brigham Young Cougars vs. Bellarmine Knights Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 22nd 2023

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Bellarmine has its work cut out in order to record its first win against a Power 5 program in six tries this season.

The Knights wrap up a tough two-game road trip in Utah on Friday night when they face No. 17 BYU in Provo, Utah.

The Cougars (10-1) have a 7-0 mark at the Marriott Center and boast one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.

Following their 86-54 win over Georgia State last Saturday, the Cougars were ranked second in the nation in assists (10.4 per game) and first in scoring margin (plus-27.9 points).

BYU coach Mark Pope offered up another interesting statistic last Saturday after reserve wing Richie Saunders scored a career-high 20 points in the win over the Panthers.

“We’re one of three teams in the country with nine players that have career highs of 20 or more,” Pope said. “You have nine guys that have proven they’re capable of putting two dimes down. It’s pretty great. Right? Depth is required if you’re going to be a high-level basketball team.”

Pope made 8 of 14 shots from the floor and added six rebounds.

“He’s going to do everything he can to help everybody on this team,” Pope said.

Jaxson Robinson, who is nursing an ankle injury, is averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game. Five other Cougars average in double figures — Spencer Johnson (11.3), Trevin Knell (11.2), Noah Waterman (11.2), Saunders (10.8) and injured Fousseyni Traore (10.2).

“Every single guy on this team. … We need every single one of them,” said Pope, whose team has two more tune-ups (Bellarmine and Wyoming) before beginning its first season in the Big 12.

“That’s what is going to help us get through this gauntlet that we’re about to enter.”

Bellarmine (4-9) will play its second game in the Beehive State in three nights. The Knights dropped an 85-43 decision at Utah on Wednesday.

Billy Smith had a team-high 14 points against the Utes. Langdon Hatton scored in double figures for the fifth straight game, finishing with 10 points to go along with nine rebounds.

The Knights held tough in the first half, trailing just 37-26 before the Utes dominated after intermission.

Utah coach Craig Smith called it a “great win” against a respectable Bellarmine team. He’s impressed with the Knights’ unique passing style and toughness.

“I know their record isn’t what they want it to be, but they’ve had to deal with a bunch of injuries,” Smith said. “They played Louisville to the wire, West Virginia to the wire. Almost all of their games have come down to the wire. They’ve had a ton of close games. … Just how tough those guys are and the way they share the ball — it’s not the Princeton offense, but there’s a lot of traits so it puts you in some different positions that way.”

This will be the first-ever meeting between BYU and Bellarmine.

–Field Level Media

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