The BYU Cougars Men’s Basketball team handed the University of Texas Longhorns an 84-72 loss at the Marriott Center on Saturday.

Saturday’s game saw the Cougars return to the win column, following a pair of gut-wrenching losses to the Texas Tech University Red Raiders and the University of Houston Cougars.

With that in mind, here are three stories taken from their showdown with the Longhorns.

Points in the paint

Throughout the season, BYU has frequently had a high volume of three-point attempts per game. Head coach Mark Pope has said on multiple occasions that he wants his team to attempt at least 35 three-point shots per game.

Coming into Saturday, the Cougars ranked second in the country, attempting 33.8 three-point shots per game.

On Saturday, BYU attempted 17 three-point shots.

“They had a game plan that they were really committed to and they said that we’re not gonna let you beat us the way that you want to beat us,” Pope said post-game. “And they did a really incredible job. They were better than anybody else that we’ve faced so far, in terms of being committed to that.”

Instead of trying to force their way to three-point attempts, the Cougars decided to turn to the paint for their offense. As a team, they collected 40 points from inside of the key.

“I was really proud of the way that our guys responded,” Pope said. “Noah (Waterman) kinda got us started and then Jax (Robinson) had one of the greatest cuts that he’s made since he’s been here at BYU … They made us do something different, and the guys did their best job trying to execute it.”

Aly Khalifa helped facilitate BYU’s paint success with eight assists.

“Aly was passing the rock really well,” said BYU guard Jaxson Robinson. “… When we play out of Aly, it’s really fun because he can really pass the ball.”

A major factor from the Cougars’ previous two games was an inability to score when the three-point shot was not falling. Saturday’s victory was a step in the right direction as they showed an ability to win in a different way than they are used to.

Balanced offensive attack

A story from BYU’s loss against Houston was their inability to score.

On Saturday, five Cougars scored over ten points.

Waterman and Robinson led BYU with 17 points each.

Waterman picked up from where he left off against Houston, shooting 7-for-11, including 3-for-6 from three-point range. Robinson, the team’s leading scorer this season, bounced back from a slow game against Houston and shot 8-for-11 on Saturday.

“Noah made seven shots, Jax made eight, I guarantee you they’ll talk about that afterwards,” Pope said.

Fousseyni Traore turned heads in his limited minutes against Houston, and he continued to impress with his performance on Saturday. Traore tallied 16 points and six rebounds against the Longhorns.

“Yeah, I thought he was good, wasn’t he?” Pope said. “I thought he was super deliberate and I’ll tell you, he brought a real physicality to the game … I thought he had a huge impact on the game. I thought he was really good.”

Coming off of the bench during this game, Traore played 17 minutes.

“We needed him to be aggressive and he looked just like that this game,” Robinson said. “He was making amazing passes out of the short roll, making sure that he found open teammates. He found Noah on the perimeter and Noah knocked down a few shots. But like I said, we need him big time.”

The power of the ROC

On Friday, BYU announced that the Marriott Center was sold out for Saturday’s game.

“First of all, great environment today,” said Texas head coach Rodney Terry post-game. “Great atmosphere. You know, BYU fans came in and really supported their team really well, got behind their guys.”

One of the focal points of college basketball is the energy provided by a student section. On Saturday, the ROC had a hand in helping the Cougars.

When shooting in front of the ROC, Texas star Dylan Disu shot 2-for-6 from the free-throw line.

On multiple occasions, Longhorns guard Chendall Weaver was seen jawing with the student section.

BYU’s players talk regularly about how much of an advantage the ROC gives them. Saturday was a day when the ROC’s presence was felt, for good and for bad.

Following the game, college basketball social media was buzzing in response to some t-shirts that were worn by students before the game.

During warm-ups and prior to the first media timeout, nine students in the front row of the ROC were wearing shirts that spelled out, “horns down.” The phrase is an insulting twist that is used to taunt Texas and its “horns up” slogan.

The play on words has been used against Texas for years, however, it has seen the media spotlight in recent weeks, after comments from Terry.

Following a 77-71 loss against the University of Central Florida Knights, Terry expressed his displeasure with the “classless” taunts of UCF players as they made the horns down symbol.

Since that game, Texas has seen the “horns down” taunts pick up and intensify.

On Saturday, the fans who wore the “horns down” shirts were asked by BYU officials to remove them during the first media timeout.

“From the ROC, from our players and from our student body, that’s just not us,” Pope said. “It’s not how we roll and it was just a miscalculation on just a couple of eager kids, which we love the eagerness of these fans, but this is not what we do here.”

Moving forward

The Cougars will have a break from Big 12 play this week, as they don’t play until Feb. 3 when they travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the University of West Virginia Mountaineers.

West Virginia currently has a 7-13 record, 2-5 in conference.

The Cougars and Mountaineers will tip off at 4 p.m. and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.