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Barcello, Lucas lead BYU to resume-building win over Aztecs
PROVO, Utah – Alex Barcello and Te’Jon Lucas combined for 30 points as the senior guards led BYU men’s basketball to a 66-60 win over San Diego State in a hard-fought game at the Marriott Center Friday night.
“We had the ability tonight to focus on what really mattered. I like that we can be 4-of-18 from the three and still beat an unbelievably talented, long, athletic, Top-30 team," said BYU head coach Mark Pope. "This is an elite, NCAA game out here. No doubt about it. That’s as real as it gets.”
The Cougars and Aztecs has slogged their way to a 54-54 tie with three minutes remaining when Barcello hoisted a three while falling down from the right corner. The ball met the bottom of the net and the Marriott Center erupted in cheers, swinging the momentum of the game in BYU’s favor with a 57-54 lead.
San Diego State responded quickly with a fast-break lay-in off a steal, trimming the Cougars’ newfound lead to one at 57-56.
BYU forward Caleb Lohner provided key rebounds on the ensuing possessions, including a put-back shot that lifted the Cougars to a 59-56 lead.
With 40 seconds on the game clock, Barcello weaved his way through Aztec defenders and nailed a pull-up jumper from the just inside the arc. The shot gave BYU a 61-56 lead and proved decisive.
Four made free throws from Lucas in the final 23 seconds sealed the win for the Cougars.
With both teams shooting 39 percent from the field on the game, rebounds and free throws became the tipping point. BYU shot 78 percent from the free throw line, including an 8-of-8 performance from Lucas and the seventh-consecutive 100 percent free throw showing from Barcello.
San Diego State shot 47 percent from the charity stripe.
The senior from Chandler, Arizona has now made 35 consecutive free throws, 15-shy of the program-record set by Tyler Haws in 2012. Against the Aztecs, Barcello passed the mark of 32-straight set by Michael Smith in 1989.
While San Diego State outrebounded BYU 18-16 in the first half, the Cougars gobbled up 26 second half rebounds on the way to outrebounding the Aztecs for the game 42-38. Lohner and freshman forward Fousseyni Traore led BYU with eight rebounds a piece, with Seneca Knight pulling down six boards.
Traore, Knight, Lohner and Gavin Baxter further fueled the scoring for the Cougars with nine, eight, seven and six points respectively.
Baxter started the second half strong for BYU, scoring all six of his points while cleaning up the offensive glass on three consecutive possessions.
BYU and San Diego State began the game much like it finished. The teams went back-and-forth with the high lead of the half going to BYU at six points. The Cougars ended the opening period leading 32-28 after a Barcello 3-pointer and putback from Traore in the closing possessions.
The Cougars benefitted from 11 first half San Diego State fouls, four of which came on the offensive end with charges taken by the BYU defense.
Following the win over the Aztecs, BYU prepares to face No. 13 Oregon at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. PST. The Cougars and Ducks will meet in the Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers. View the matchup on ESPN or listen live on the BYU Sports Network.
BYU welcomes San Diego State to Marriott Center on Friday Night
PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball returns to the court on Friday evening when they host former Mountain West Conference foe San Diego State at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.
Friday’s 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.
More Than a Game
All fans that attend Friday’s contest against the Aztecs are encouraged to bring a pair of new or lightly used shoes to donate to the Sneakers for Africa Shoe Drive. The shoe drive in conjunction with TimeOut4Africa, Black Student Union and BYU Global Supply Chain Management will be collecting shoes to send back to George’s home nation of Nigeria.
BYU Notes (1-0, 0-0 West Coast Conference)
- BYU improved to 3-0 in season openers under head coach Mark Pope with a 69-59 victory over Cleveland State on Tuesday evening in Provo.
- Alex Barcello scored a game-high 24 points on six shot attempts to break the program record for points to field goal attempts in a single game. The senior guard was 5-of-6 from the field and a perfect 13-of-13 from the charity stripe to score over 20 points for the 12th time in his career.
- Barcello has now made 33 straight free throws dating back to last year, the fourth-longest streak in program history.
- Spencer Johnson scored 13 of BYU’s 28 bench points as the junior went 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range. He also recorded one of the biggest defensive plays of the game with a block at the 2:06 mark with the Cougars up six.
- Caleb Lohner had a game-high nine rebounds against the Vikings, one off his career-best. The sophomore has now pulled down five or more boards in 28 of 30 games as a Cougar.
- Fousseyni Traore was another force off the bench for the Cougars as the freshman posted a stat line of five points, eight rebounds and three blocks in his first collegiate game.
Head Coach – Mark Pope
- Alma Mater: Kentucky, 1996
- Division I Career Record: 122-71 (7th Season)
- Record at BYU: 45-15 (3rd Season)
San Diego State Notes (1-0, 0-0 Mountain West)
- San Diego State won its season open for a ninth straight year on Tuesday evening with a 66-53 victory over UC Riverside.
- The Aztecs were picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference Preseason Poll behind Colorado State.
- Much like the Cougars, SDSU is receiving votes in the AP Poll. Both teams are also ranked in the Top 40 in KenPom.
- Matt Bradley scored a game-high 23 points, the most in an Aztec debut since Jerome Habel scored 23 points on Nov. 18, 2006. Bradley, a senior from San Bernardino, Calif., transferred to SDSU after averaging 18.0 points per game at the University of California in 2020-21.
- Trey Pulliam also reached double figures for the Aztecs with 15 points after going 7-of-16 from the field. Nathan Mensah pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with two assists and two blocks.
Head Coach – Brian Dutcher
- Alma Mater: Minnesota, 1982
- Division I Record: 96-31 (5th season)
- Series Record: 49-26
- Last Meeting: BYU won 72-63, 12/18/20
- H/A/N: 29-4/19-18/1-4
- 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