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3 keys to BYU’s stunning 76-68 win over No. 7 Kansas at Phog Allen Fieldhouse

Kansas guard Elmarko Jackson (13) shoots over BYU guard Richie Saunders (15) during a game Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — BYU picked up its biggest win in the Mark Pope era Tuesday night at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, stunning No. 7 Kansas 76-68 in a pivotal Big 12 game.

The Cougars (8-7, 20-8) trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half before making a spirited comeback at one of the most difficult places to play in college basketball.

Kansas fell to 9-6 and 21-7 and lost at home for the first time this season.

The Cougars took advantage of KU’s 19-of-31 shooting from the free-throw line, going 12 of 15 from the charity stripe themselves.

They were 13 of 34 from 3-point range, three days after going 6 of 31 from deep in a loss at Kansas State.

Here are 3 keys to the Cougars’ big win:

• For the third-straight game, the Cougars got off to an awful start. They fell behind 8-3 and 12-6, and to make matters worse, starters Noah Waterman and Trevin Knell picked up two quick fouls apiece in the first 10 minutes.

It was almost the third-straight road game in which the Cougars never played with the lead, joining their performances at Oklahoma State and Kansas State; however, the Cougars rallied in the second half, and led 62-60 with 3:35 left when Dallin Hall nailed a 3-pointer.

Kansas had shot 15 of 30 from the field to take a 35-29 halftime lead and was up by as many 12 points in the second. The Jayhawks finished shooting 40% from the field.

• BYU had no answer early for KU’s KJ Adams Jr., who scored his first nine points inside and got a couple Cougars in foul trouble. He was 4 of 7 in the first half, and 1 of 2 from the line. But he scored just two points in the second half.

Kansas big man Hunter Dickinson, the Big 12 player of the year candidate, had a mediocre first half, by his standards, with seven points and six rebounds. He finished with 17 points, but was a frosty 6 of 15 from the free-throw line.

Kansas’ poor free-throw shooting cost the Jayhawks the game.

• The Cougars stuck to their game plan and hoisted 3-pointers every opportunity they got. They were 6 of 19 from deep in the first half — Jaxson Robinson was 2 of 4. They finished 13 of 34 from deep — after going 6 of 31 three days ago at Kansas State.

Dallin Hall battled foul trouble and eventually fouled out, but not before scoring 18 points; Robinson also had 18, while Noah Waterman had nine.