BYU Dominates Arizona State in Vegas Showdown, Marred by Late-Game Fight

Cougars deliver an impressive performance on the court but face repercussions after a physical altercation

BYU’s basketball team showcased their dominance in a resounding victory over Arizona State in the Vegas Showdown. However, the game was overshadowed by a fight that erupted in the final moments, resulting in ejections for players from both teams. While BYU celebrated their win, they now face potential suspensions and consequences for their involvement in the altercation.

The Game and the Fight

BYU’s victory over Arizona State was a testament to their skill and preparation. The Cougars controlled the game from start to finish, demonstrating their prowess in shooting, particularly from beyond the arc. However, with just 34 seconds remaining, a fight broke out between BYU’s Atiki Aly Atiki and ASU’s Akil Watson. Atiki appeared to throw a punch, leading to his ejection from the game. Watson, on the other hand, was restrained by BYU coach Mark Pope. The altercation marred an otherwise outstanding performance by both teams.

Potential Suspensions and Repercussions

As a result of the fight, Atiki is likely to face a suspension for the upcoming game against North Carolina State. NCAA rules dictate that players who strike an opponent are subject to suspension. On the other hand, BYU’s Noah Waterman, who left the bench during the skirmish but did not participate in the fight, may not face any consequences according to the NCAA rule book. The final decision regarding potential suspensions will be made by the NCAA coordinators on the East Coast.

Coach Pope’s Reflections

BYU coach Mark Pope expressed his hope that the team can move forward from the incident and focus on the upcoming game. He acknowledged the instinct of his players to defend their teammate but emphasized the importance of controlling those impulses. Pope took responsibility for the ejection of Waterman, stating that it is the coaching staff’s duty to keep players on the bench. He expressed his love for Atiki and the entire team, emphasizing the need to avoid such situations in the future.

BYU’s Dominance on the Court

Before the fight, BYU’s performance on the court was exceptional. The team showcased their shooting prowess, making double-digit three-pointers for the fifth consecutive game this season. Despite missing 7-footer Shawn Phillips due to injury, the Cougars controlled the game defensively, limiting Arizona State’s offensive opportunities. The Sun Devils struggled to find their rhythm, shooting just 33% from the field and a dismal 10% from beyond the arc.

Offensive Rebounding as a Superpower

BYU’s offensive rebounding proved to be a significant advantage in the game. The team capitalized on their 18 offensive rebounds, converting them into 20 second-chance points. This aspect of their play has become a superpower for the Cougars, enabling them to extend possessions and create scoring opportunities. Coach Pope praised the team’s ability to dominate the boards, highlighting it as a key factor in their success.


BYU’s victory over Arizona State in the Vegas Showdown was marred by a late-game fight that resulted in ejections for two players. While the Cougars showcased their dominance on the court, they now face potential suspensions and consequences for their involvement in the altercation. Coach Mark Pope emphasized the need to control players’ instincts to defend their teammates and expressed his hope for a full team in the upcoming game. Despite the controversy, BYU’s performance highlighted their shooting prowess and offensive rebounding as key strengths. As they move forward, the team will need to maintain their focus and discipline to continue their success on the court.






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