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BYU blocks Cleveland State 69-59 for season-opening win
Postgame Notes and Quotes
PROVO, Utah – Alex Barcello was flawless from the free-throw line en route to scoring 24 points and helping BYU defeat Cleveland State 69-59 on Tuesday night at the Marriott Center.
"Cleveland State is a championship team," said BYU head coach Mark Pope. "That's why we got them. They won their league tournament last year, plus got every single player back and added two big time shooters to their roster. They are a super disruptive team and so for all those reasons it was a huge win for us. Alex Barcello, he's just a star. I mean he's one of six returning All-Americans in he entire country, and he's shown us over and over again that he's got some moxie out there on the floor."
Barcello set a new program record for points to field goal attempts with 24 points on only six shot attempts. The senior guard was 5-of-6 from the field and a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line as he has now made 33 straight from the charity stripe dating back to last season. That's the fourth longest streak in BYU history. The 13 made free throws are sixth all-time in BYU history in single-game free-throws made without a miss.
The Cougars and Vikings traded scores and fouls from start to finish with BYU’s game-high lead coming at 10 in the closing seconds. With 11:29 remaining, Cleveland State briefly snagged the lead at 46-44 following a lay-in from guard D’Moi Hodge.
BYU quickly retook the lead for good with free-throws from Barcello and Te’Jon Lucas. 3-pointers from Barcello and Spencer Johnson, along with two blocks from Fousseyni Traore awakened the Marriott Center and swung the momentum in the Cougars’ favor as the clock wound down.
BYU capitalized on 24 Cleveland State fouls by shooting 82 percent from the free-throw line.
Johnson provided a valuable spark off the bench for the Cougars throughout the night. The junior guard from American Fork, Utah put up 13 points, including 2-of-3 from distance. A Johnson 3-pointer from the right corner off a Barcello assist put the Cougars up six, 58-52, with less than six minutes remaining.
Moment later, Johnson came up big on defense with a crucial block that left the Vikings with an empty possession late in the game.
Johnson’s block was one of seven on the night for the Cougars, three of which came from Traore. Caleb Lohner and Trevin Knell added seven and eight points respectively. Lohner and Traore led the Cougars in rebounding with 17 boards between the two Wasatch Academy products. For the night, BYU outrebounded the Vikings 41-31.
While the BYU defense forced only six Cleveland State turnovers, the Cougars limited the Vikings to 36 percent shooting from the field; well under their 45 percent from a season ago.
With the win over the Vikings, BYU moves to 1-0 in the season’s opening week. The Cougars now prepare to face San Diego State at the Marriott Center on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. MST. Tune-into the Cougars and Aztecs on BYUtv and the BYU Sports Network.
BYU opens 2021-22 regular season Tuesday against Cleveland State
PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball opens the 2021-22 regular season on Tuesday evening when the Cougars host Cleveland State at the Marriott Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The game will be broadcast on BYUtv. It will also be broadcast live on BYU Sports Network on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
BYU Notes (0-0, 0-0 West Coast Conference)
- BYU opens the season at home for the third consecutive season and for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons.
- Alex Barcello scored a game-high 16 points in the Cougars 63-45 exhibition victory over Colorado Christian on Nov. 4. The senior scored 14 of BYU’s 26 first half points as the senior All-American was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
- Barcello was one of two Cougars picked to the Preseason All-West Coast Conference Team. He scored a team-high 16.1 points per game last season while shooting 52.3 percent from the floor and 47.7 percent from beyond the arc.
- Caleb Lohner was also named to the Preseason All-WCC team after becoming the sixth freshman in program history and first since 2005-06 to lead the team in rebounding. His 7.1 rebounds per game were also the fourth most by a freshman in program history.
- Of the nine new faces on the roster, two of them have previous college experience. Te’Jon Lucas played for two seasons at Milwaukee after spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at Illinois. Seneca Knight made the move to Provo after stints at LSU and San Jose State.
- Fousseyni Traore, a freshman from Bamako, Mali, has already become a fan favorite for the Cougars after recording a double-double in the Blue-White Scrimmage. In his first game at the Marriott Center, the Wasatch Academy product scored 20 points with 11 rebounds as BYU White won 68-62.
- BYU enters the 2021-22 season receiving votes in the AP Poll released earlier this month. They are slated to face two schools currently ranked in the poll with No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 13 Oregon.
Head Coach – Mark Pope
- Alma Mater: Kentucky, 1996
- Division I Career Record: 121-71 (7th Season)
- Record at BYU: 44-15 (3rd Season)
Cleveland State Notes (0-0, 0-0 Horizon League)
- Cleveland State was picked to win the Horizon League after going 19-8 in 2020-21 and achieving the program’s third all-time NCAA Tournament berth.
- The Vikings defeated Division III’s Otterbein 74-33 on Friday in their final exhibition before opening the season in Provo.
- Senior guard Torrey Patton was selected to the All-Horizon League Preseason First Team. The Dayton, Ohio native averaged 14.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in 2020-21 while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor.
- D’Moi Hodge also returns for the Vikings after starting in 26 games last year where he scored 10.5 points per game. The junior guard from Tortola, British Virgin Islands shot 40.5 percent from the floor, 29.9 percent from 3-point range and 64.9 percent from the charity stripe.
Head Coach – Dennis Gates
- Alma Mater: University of California
- Division I Record: 30-29 (3rd Season)
- Tuesday will be the first all-time meeting between the two programs.
- BYU is 1-0 all-time against schools from the Horizon League.
- TV: BYUtv
- TV Talent: Dave McCann (play-by-play), Blaine Fowler (analyst), Spencer Linton (sideline)
- Radio: BYU Sports Network, BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM
- Streamed Audio: BYURadio.org, BYUCougars.com/LiveRadio and the BYU Radio, BYU Cougars and BYU Gameday apps
- Radio Talent: Greg Wrubell (play-by-play), Mark Durrant (analyst)
- Live stats: BYUCougars.com