Austin Rustand | Posted: 23 Dec 2021 | Updated: 5 Jan 2022

Turnovers prove costly in 69-67 loss to Vanderbilt in Diamond Head Classic Semi-Final

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Fousseyni Traore Vandy 2021

PROVO, Utah - A season high 19 turnovers proved costly as BYU fell to Vanderbilt 69-67 in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic semifinal on Thursday evening.

“It was obviously a super disappointing outcome,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “I thought my guys had great fight, I thought they competed well but we’ve been having a really tough time the last few games protecting the ball. When you give the opponent 20 extra possessions, it’s hard to win.”

In a game where the Cougars led in almost every positive statistical category, 19 turnovers that turned into 18 Commodore points put them in a hole that was too deep to climb out of.

The Cougars shot 41.1 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from behind the arc and 73.3 percent from the line. They outrebounded the Commodores 43-to-31, tallied 13 assists, four blocks and six steals in the loss.

Alex Barcello led BYU with 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting, 3-for-6 from three-point land, five rebounds and two assists.

Lohner, Johnson and Knell all finished in double figures for the Cougars with 11, 11 and 10 respectively. Fousseyni Traore had a career-high 15 rebounds to go with nine points. 

The Cougars will face Liberty in the Diamond Head Classic third-place game on Christmas Day. 

First Half

Barcello got his first points on a right-hand runner off the glass on the first Cougar possession to opening the scoring. 

After eight straight points from the Commodores, Trevin Knell buried a top of the key three followed by a baseline floater from Te’Jon Lucas to draw the Cougars within one.

On the next Cougar possession Knell hit his second 3-pointer of the game and was fouled on the shot giving him a chance at a four-point play which he converted to give BYU its first lead of the game. After a Vanderbilt miss, Lucas found Barcello in the left corner for a transition triple to stretch the lead to six with 16:17 left in the first half.

After a Commodores three-pointer to cut the Cougar lead to three, BYU forced two Vanderbilt turnovers that resulted in five-straight points to give BYU a seven point lead.

Vanderbilt hit a deep three to cut the Cougar lead to one with 3:36 left in the first half, but quickly committed three fouls which sent Fousseyini Traore and Alex Barcello to the line which gave the Cougars a 6-point lead.

After a Commodores three, Johnson snuck in a layup right before the halftime buzzer to give BYU a 35-30 lead going into the halftime break.

Second Half

Jordan Wright scored eight straight points for the Commodores coming out halftime to give Vanderbilt their first lead since the 17:17 mark of the first half.

Barcello picked up two quick fouls which sent him to the bench early in the second half with three personals.

After back-to-back buckets from Trevin Knell and Spencer Johnson, the Commodores rattled off eight-straight points to take a three-point lead with 13:16 to play.

Lohner stopped the Vanderbilt run with his second three of the season from the corner to tie the game. After an emphatic put-back dunk from Myles Stute, Lohner hit a floater in the lane to square the game at 50-all with 12:23 left.

Traore scored on two straight possessions for the Cougars which secured a one-point advantage with 8:34 left in the game. After a Lohner miss, Johnson battled for an offensive rebound and put back to give BYU a four-point lead.

The Commodores scored on two straight possessions to knot the game at 57-all with 6:40 left.

With 5:34 left, Gideon George hit a top-of-the-key three with four seconds left on the shot clock to give the Cougars a one-point lead.

After Scottie Pippen Jr. scored 11-straight points for the Commodores to give them a five-point lead with 1:25 to go, Alex Barcello buried a step back three to cut the lead to two with 1:06 left.

After a strong defensive possession from the Cougars, that gave them the ball down to with the chance to tie the game Barcello drove into the lane and put up a floater that missed off the back iron. After getting his own rebound he put up a shot that was partially blocked and collected by Vanderbilt with six seconds left. 

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