Cameron Muh | Posted: 1 Dec 2020 | Updated: 15 Jan 2021

Poor shooting leads to BYU’s first loss of season

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Alex Barcello action
The Daily Universe


UNCASVILLE, Conn. — BYU Basketball suffered its first loss of the season, falling 79-53 to USC in its first game of the Romans Legends Classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena Tuesday.

“It’s disappointing,” head coach Mark Pope said. “It’s not just a loss, it’s a gut check, a reality check, and a test to see who we are. I’m really curious and determined to see if we can figure this out and respond in the right way.”

The Cougars struggled throughout, shooting 27.5 percent from the field and 23.3 percent from deep. BYU was outrebounded by 15 and also had zero second-chance points, despite grabbing 15 offensive rebounds.

After two empty possessions to start the game, Kolby Lee made a hook shot to tie it up at 2-2. Matt Haarms then knocked down a 3-pointer and the Cougars took a 5-2 lead. A pick-and-roll with Alex Barcello and Haarms led to an easy layup and BYU led 7-4. The Cougars missed their next five shots, but Barcello broke that streak with a cutting backdoor lay-in to make it 11-9, Trojans.

BYU then went on a 7-0 run to take the lead on a Gideon George floater, dunk by Haarms and a three by Lee. Another Barcello-Haarms pick-and-roll for a dunk had BYU up 18-17 with 8:39 to play in the first half.

The Trojans, however, closed the half on a 14-2 run, including a 10-0 run in the final 4:24. Drew Peterson led USC in the first half with 13 points, with Evan Mobley also adding nine points of his own. Haarms led the Cougars with nine first half points and Lee contributed five.

In the second half, Barcello hit a three to open the BYU scoring to cut the USC lead to 33-23, but that was as close as the Cougars would get. The Trojans made 19 of 31 shots (61.3 percent) in the second half to pull away.

USC had four players finish in double figures. Peterson had 19 points on 7-10 shooting, and Mobley added 17 on 8-for-12 shooting. The Trojans shot 53.3 percent from the field on the day.

Haarms led BYU with 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks. George also added 11 points and six rebounds, and Barcello finished with eight points and four rebounds.

The Cougars have a quick turnaround as they face St. John’s Wednesday in their second and final game of the Romans Legend Classic at 5 p.m. EST (3 p.m. MST). The game will be televised on ESPN2 and broadcast on the BYU Sports Network on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.

BYU Postgame Notes
BYU vs. USC Box Score

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