Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Lessons From BYU’s Shocker 2024 NCAA Loss Against Duquesne

In the 2024 NCAA Tournament’s opening round of the East Region, the No. 6 seed BYU Cougars fell to the No. 11-seeded Duquesne team.

BYU finishes the season with a 23-11 record. These are some lessons learned from the loss.




In what ways did Duquesne’s physique surprise BYU?
The Duquesne Dukes’ defensive tenacity quickly became a talking topic when the game was revealed on Selection Sunday.

According to Ken Pom adjusted efficiency metrics, Duquesne’s defense was among the top 30 going into the match. Following Thursday, they appeared to be a team that had taken a cue from the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are their football neighbors. Against BYU, Duquesne displayed their finest “Steel Curtain” physicality.

The Dukes’ aggression when the ball was tipped seemed to take BYU by surprise.

How did that come about?

You have to bring the intensity and physicality when it’s win-or-go-home. But BYU didn’t.

In an attempt to start a fire early in the second half, Cougar forward Noah Waterman challenged Duquesne’s Fousseyni Trame for a rebound on the deck. However, Trame then threw an elbow, sending a clear message that the Dukes would prevail in the struggle for physicality.

“They were very, very physical and kind of punched us in the mouth early, and they played themselves,” Mark Pope remarked.




Again, a sluggish start cost BYU.
BYU was behind 6-0 early on and couldn’t even look up. It was yet another example of BYU’s poor start this season and not only in the Tournament. The same problems that surfaced against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament returned to haunt Duquesne.
The question of whether BYU should alter its starting lineup before the game was discussed. Was it appropriate to include Jaxson Robinson in the starting five?

Head coach of BYU Mark Pope declared before the game against the Dukes that he would not “reinvent the wheel.” However, BYU’s sluggish starts cost them in a number of games, particularly the final two, which ended the team’s season prematurely.

Guard Jaxson Robinson of BYU commented, “I’m not really sure what the answer is to that,” regarding the slow starts. “I believe that throughout the season, not only the coaches but also the players as a team have reinforced our goal of improving at it. We regret not being able to begin the game the way we had hoped. I will stop talking about it there.




On the March Madness stage, reserve guard Jaxson Robinson of BYU was outstanding.

He finished with 25 points on 8 of 15 field goals. BYU needed a star in a postseason game, and Robinson was it. However, he didn’t become well-known until after BYU had fallen behind.

The fact that Robinson was unable to pull off a shot in the last five minutes of play is unexpected.

When asked why he didn’t try a shot in the last five minutes, Robinson replied, “Just playing within the offense, taking whatever the defense gives me.” “My colleagues were locating me with open shots.” Just acting as a facilitator was a fantastic job, done by Dallin Hall. All season long, he has supported us.

You have to believe that Robinson’s March Madness play improved his selection position in the NBA. This offseason will bring a decision for him.

He made a suggestion following the game that he hopes to play in March Madness again the following year. But the offseason is still quite long.

The bounces went to Duquesne.
Late in the second half, Fousseyni Traore of BYU rimmed out a half-court field goal attempt that was halfway down, giving up back-to-back possessions.

Jimmy Clark hit a jumper on Duquesne’s subsequent possession that first bounced off the front of the basket before taking another bounce and rolling in.

It was the high point of BYU’s day versus the Dukes.

Duquesne was prepared to counter each time it seemed like BYU was gathering momentum.

Forward Jakub Necas was one of Duquesne’s underappreciated players. His final stats were six rebounds and twelve points. Necas’ baskets were often placed in places that prevented BYU runs.

Toward the end, BYU basketball made costly errors.
BYU forward Richie Saunders had a poor pass as he was coming out of the under-four media timeout, and “The Steeler” Jimmy Clark intercepted it. Then Clark went all the way for a game-winning fast-break basket.

That dunk cost BYU a chance to either take the lead or tie the game. That was a 58-56 deficit for them.

Then, in the last minute of regular, Clark gave BYU a lead by grabbing the ball after a missed free shot. The crucial error committed by BYU was failing to box out the free-throw shooter.

With every team in the Tournament being a strong squad, those small errors will catch up to you.




March Madness exposes BYU’s weaknesses
Basketball at BYU had an amazing first Big 12 Conference season. In the hardest league in the United States, the Cougars rose to fifth place.

They were awarded an at-large bid to the Tournament, thus that was a noteworthy accomplishment.

Then came Selection Sunday, when BYU defeated Duquesne. It appeared to be a good matchup on paper. The Dukes were far less of a favorite than BYU. However, the same issues that plague BYU every March returned.

The significance of March seems to affect this BYU team far too often.

Regarding whether the stage was too great for his team, BYU coach Mark Pope responded, “I don’t think so.” “You know, I mean, you consider the settings in which these guys have performed this year, and Duquesne deserves a great deal of credit.

And, you know, our guys responded and fought back, and it became a fantastic NCAA Tournament match, although we lost. However, not for a lack of composure, hard work, competitive spirit, attempting, or grace. We were just defeated.