BYU's roaring comeback leaves TCU in the dust

BYU completed a 29-point turnaround to steal a win from TCU on Saturday.

Spencer Johnson celebrates as BYU takes down TCU
Spencer Johnson celebrates as BYU takes down TCU / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

They had us in the first half, not gonna lie.

BYU picked up its 21st win on the season in a home game against TCU, making that BYU basketball's 17th straight win against TCU (yeesh). In a game where BYU seemingly had no chance at finishing with a win, the Cougars blew the doors off of TCU and completely flipped the game on its head.

With this win, BYU gets its first 2-0 week in Big 12 play for the whole season. That's a shocking statistic for a team that sits two games above .500 in conference and owns the best home-court advantage in the nation's top conference. Following wins against Baylor and Kansas State with losses later in the week against Oklahoma State and, well, Kansas State. This weekend's win was a breath of fresh air, certainly, but at halftime, a different outcome was expected.

As you can see in this win probability chart, TCU was in control for much of this game, holding a 92% chance to win when the halftime buzzer sounded. This wasn't undeserved either, as TCU dominated the Cougars in every aspect of the game up to that point. TCU was hitting 70% of their 3-pointers, and BYU had only made one 3 in the entire half, shooting about 8% at that point in the game. TCU's defense wasn't necessarily locking BYU down--they were getting the looks they hoped for--but if your opponent isn't scoring, no one will hold mediocre defense against you. TCU's offense looked every bit as explosive as advertised; they were hitting shots from everywhere despite the majority of their looks being contested.

There's an overused cliche in show business that I'm about to reuse in this random college basketball article: "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings." And Mark Pope's squad emerged from the locker room into the second half with an Emperor Kuzco-style mantra in their hearts. I was dragged all over those hills and I did not hear any singing!

The second half began scored 46-29, with TCU holding a 17-point lead against BYU in the Marriott Center. For most teams, a deficit that wide would seem insurmountable. TCU has the second-best offense in the Big 12 and a winning record on the road, for heaven's sake! Fortunately for Mark Pope and his Cougars, they owned the top offense in the Big 12. They had sat dormant for an entire half of basketball and, like Mount St. Helen's, were past due for an eruption.

Aly Khalifa, Essam Mostafa
This Aly Khalifa post-up belongs in a museum / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

After scoring 29 points in the first half, BYU unleashed an explosive barrage of offensive firepower in unison with rock-solid defense that left TCU scrambling to gather the remnants of their previously impossible lead. Trevin Knell hit four 3-pointers, Dallin Hall hit three of his own, and Fousseyni Traore became the force under the basket we all knew he was capable of being as he scored a game-high 21 points. Meanwhile, the Cougars began to rebound the ball at the terrific rate that they have proved to be capable of, fueled by Richie Saunders' tenacious hustle and no-waste production. Aly Khalifa and Dallin Hall combined for 12 assists for an offense that had truly come alive after a dreadful opening to the game.

BYU scored 58 points in the second half (disgusting) and held TCU to 29, mirroring the Cougars' first half output. It was a tale of two halves, and the Cougars took over at the right time to flip a 17-point comeback into a 12-point victory. Winning at Allen Fieldhouse was an incredible accomplishment, but this win over TCU should not be forgotten anytime soon.

BYU will face off against Iowa State in Ames on Tuesday. The Cyclones will certainly give BYU all they've got following a 15-point loss in Provo earlier this year, and remain undefeated at home. We'll see if BYU still has any Kansas-flavored magic left in them.

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