The 20-ranked BYU Cougars fell in a deflating 85-78 road loss against the 25-ranked Texas Tech University Red Raiders on Saturday.

The Cougars led by 16 points at halftime, however, they found themselves down eight points when the final buzzer sounded. Saturday’s game was a tale of two stories for basketball fans.

With this in mind, here are three stories and takeaways from BYU’s defeat.

Live and die by the three

The best way to summarize the two halves for the Cougars is to share their three-point shooting numbers in each half.

BYU’s first-half success was largely led by their hot shooting. As a team, they shot 10-20 in the half. Their hot shooting translated to them taking a 48-32 lead into the break. It was going to be hard for the Cougars to continue shooting at a 50% clip. In the second half, they flipped the script and shot 3-19 from three.

Going cold from behind the arc can be expected at times. Shooting can come and go in games. But what also hurt BYU was turnover issues.

Texas Techs second half comeback was a team effort. They increased their defense and doubled BYU’s turnovers by forcing eight BYU turnovers in the half, compared to four first-half turnovers.

When head coach Mark Pope and the Cougars sit back and watch the film from this game, their turnover issues in the second half and the contrast of their three-point shooting percentages will be what stands out.

Popping off

Texas Tech’s offense is primarily driven by their two guards. Pop Issacs averages 16.1 points per game and Joe Toussaint averages 13.8 points per game. The game plan for BYU’s defense was presumably centered around limiting their success.

In the first half, this game plan was executed effectively. Issacs did not score a basket until there was 6:24 remaining in the half, and he had nine points at the break. Toussaint could not get traction at all in the game. For the game, he finished with three points.

Issacs however, came out hot in the second half. He helped bring the Red Raiders back into the game with five points in the first two minutes of the half, making the score 48-39.

The Cougars made attempts to regain their 10-point lead in the half, however, Issacs continually found ways to respond.

The Red Raiders tied the game with 7:00 remaining when Issacs stole a ball and found Chance McMillan for a layup, tying the game 64-64.

For the remainder of the game, the two teams would exchange blows. However, Issacs would find a way to respond to every BYU punch.

Aly Khalifa gave the Cougars a 66-64 lead with 6:31 remaining, but Issacs answered with a three-pointer to put them ahead 67-66 with 5:33 left.

The finishing touches on the game came with 2:01 remaining when Issacs hit a jump shot to give the Red Raiders a 77-70 lead, while also setting a personal career single-game high with 30 points.

Issacs finished the night with 32 points (23 in the second half) while shooting 11-19 from the field (6-9 from three), and chipping in five rebounds plus four assists.

Aly was a bright spot

Reflecting on the full game for the Cougars, the performance of Khalifa will be seen as a bright spot in a discouraging loss.

Khalifa finished the game with a personal season high of 21 points, 15 of them coming in the second half. All of Khalifa’s second-half baskets came from inside of the key.

The Cougars combined for 30 points in the second half as a team. Khalifa scored 15 consecutive points for BYU.

It was unclear how the return of Fousseyni Traore would impact the playing time of Khalifa. After this game, it seems that Khalifa will continue to get a large amount of playing time.

What is next?

The Cougars will return to action on Jan. 23 when they welcome the University of Houston Cougars to the Marriott Center. That game will tip off at 7 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.