SALT LAKE CITY — Jaxson Robinson scored a career-high 24 points, making six 3-pointers, while Spencer Johnson added a career-high 22 points to lead No. 19 BYU to an 85-56 victory over Fresno State on Friday night.
Johnson also had five assists and five rebounds for BYU (7-0), which has won 12 straight non-conference games dating back to last season – the program’s longest streak since 2011. The Cougars improved to 23-5 all-time in games played at the Delta Center, the home arena for the Utah Jazz.
“We’re a deep team,” Johnson said. “A lot of dudes can play. A lot of dudes can shoot. It’s just awesome to be part of.”
Isaiah Hill led the Bulldogs with 14 points. Jalen Weaver added 10. Fresno State (3-4) suffered its third straight loss after trailing by double digits throughout most of the game.
The Bulldogs committed 21 turnovers leading to 36 points for BYU.
“We knew the challenge coming in, but they just took our lunch,” Fresno State coach Justin Hutson said. “You can’t have 21 turnovers the way we had them and they happened all over the place.”
BYU flustered the Bulldogs by repeatedly switching up defenses. The Cougars utilized three different types of full-court presses and even went to a zone for a few possessions.
It all proved effective.
“What’s fun is our team could not have responded to changes in real time in the game last year. We were too young,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “These guys have come so far. The best thing we have going right now is our guys’ communication is elite.”
The Cougars rode a hot start from Johnson to carve out an early double-digit lead. Johnson made five of his first six shots and scored 12 of BYU’s first 17 points. He hit a 3-pointer and made back-to-back layups to fuel an 11-0 run that gave BYU a 19-7 lead.
Climbing out of that early hole proved to be a chore for the Bulldogs. Fresno State played carelessly with the ball throughout the first half and struggled to generate much rhythm on offense. BYU took advantage, scoring 15 points off 11 turnovers before halftime.
“This group is well connected,” Robinson said. “I think that’s what makes a really big difference from last year’s team. We’re seeing it on the court.”
The Cougars missed 10 of 11 shots late in the first half and scored a single basket over a seven-minute stretch. Fresno State could not erase the double-digit gap, however, and fell further behind after halftime.
BYU made four straight baskets as a part of an 11-2 run to push its lead to 49-28 early in the second half. Dallin Hall bookended the run with a 3-pointer and a layup.
The Cougars led by as many as 32 points in the second half.
Fresno State: Turnovers and prolonged scoring droughts were a major problem for the Bulldogs from the start and kept them from ever seriously threatening BYU.
BYU: The Cougars endured a few dry spells with their shooting but clamped down defensively to keep Fresno State from capitalizing on those droughts.
Fresno State hosts Idaho State on Tuesday.
BYU hosts Evansville on Tuesday.