PROVO, Utah (AP) Richie Saunders scored a career-high 20 points to help No. 18 BYU beat Georgia State 86-54 on Saturday night for its second straight victory.

Saunders filled the void off the bench when BYU scoring leader Jaxson Robinson injured his ankle in the first half. Robinson played only seven minutes, scoring two points. Saunders also had six rebounds and a steal while playing just 24 minutes.

“He’s going to do everything he can to help everybody on this team,” BYU coach Mark Pope said.

Saunders is the ninth player on the Cougars’ roster who has scored at least 20 points in a game. BYU is one of only two Division I teams with that many players who’ve tallied at least one career 20-point game.

It has helped the Cougars (10-1) get off to their best start through 11 games since starting 17-0 to open the 1987-88 season.

“You have nine guys that have proven they’re capable of putting two dimes down, it’s pretty great,” Pope said. “Depth is required if you’re going to be a high-level basketball team.”

Trevin Knell added 15 points for the Cougars. Noah Waterman had 13 points and six rebounds, and Dallin Hall chipped in 12 points and six assists.

BYU had only four turnovers while forcing Georgia State to commit 16 turnovers. It is a stark contrast to a season ago when the Cougars were an inexperienced turnover prone squad.

“A year of experience definitely helps,” Hall said. “Learned that the hard way last year. We’ve taken big strides in our mental approach to each game.”

Dwon Odom led Georgia State (4-6) with 12 points, and Lucas Taylor had 10.

BYU attacked relentlessly from the perimeter for 40 minutes and it paid off. The Cougars made 15 3-pointers while shooting at a 40% clip from beyond the arc.

Georgia State cut an early 13-point deficit to 31-26 on Brenden Tucker’s jumper. Saunders and Hall each buried 3-pointers to end the run and put BYU back up by double digits before halftime.

The Cougars pulled away for good when Spencer Johnson and Waterman combined for three straight baskets to extend BYU’s lead to 53-31 early in the second half.


Georgia State: The Panthers could not keep pace with BYU while playing their seventh road game over their last 10 contests. Georgia State struggled with turnovers and yielded far too many transition baskets.

BYU: The Cougars worked to impose their will on the perimeter from the opening tip. BYU shot 11 consecutive 3-pointers before attempting its first two-point field goal nearly eight minutes into the game.


Georgia State: Hosts Toccoa Falls on Tuesday night.

BYU: Hosts Bellarmine on Friday night.


Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here


AP college basketball: and

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.