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Lohner's career night leads Cougars to victory over Long Beach State
PROVO, Utah – No. 2 seed BYU rode a career-high 20 points from Caleb Lohner and a 21-0 second half run on route to a 93-72 win over Long Beach State in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament on Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
“I think we had a little bit of fun tonight," Lohner said. "It took us a while to kind of get it turned on and start playing like us, but I think that’s just some of the emotion going into it. I think we ended the game on a high note and now we’re going to the next round.”
The Cougars found themselves down by as many as eight in the first half as Long Beach State controlled the pace of the game with a frenetic three-quarter court press that frustrated the BYU offense. The Beach clung to their first half lead with a generous helping of trips to the free-throw line. LBSU shot 17-for-19 from the stripe in the first half to 7-for-9 for the Cougars.
BYU trailed 46-41 at the half.
Minutes into the second half, the tide turned on The Beach as the Cougars roared to life on both sides of the floor with an 8-0 run.
Alex Barcello shed a defender and banked home a jumper, tying the game at 52. On the ensuing Beach possession, Spencer Johnson drew a charge, returning the ball to Barcello for a 3-pointer that gave BYU its first lead since 2-0.
Johnson again made his presence felt on the defensive end as he refused to back-down on a point-blank shot attempt from Long Beach State. The shot rolled out and the Cougars made quick work of delivering the ball to Caleb Lohner for hook shot that gave BYU a game-high lead of 57-52.
After a brief LBSU response, the Cougars took command of the game with a season-long 21-0 scoring run.
Gideon George scored in the paint and from deep while finding Barcello camped out on the wing for a trey of his own. Trevin Knell fed Fousseyni Traore for the dunk on one end of the floor, then followed it up by taking a charge on the other. Johnson again made an impact during the run, as he turned a Beach turnover into points on a fast-break and knocked down a 3-pointer.
BYU controlled the game the rest of the way, allowing freshmen Trey Stewart, Nate Hansen and Casey Brown to see action in the game’s final minutes.
The Cougars shot 55 percent for the game, while holding LBSU to 33 percent and 13 percent from distance. BYU fired-away to the tune of 44 percent from beyond the arc in the second half and 36 percent for the game. The Cougars also outrebounded the Beach 45-30 and shared the ball for 28 assists compared to four from LBSU.
Perhaps no stat was more impactful than the Cougars’ trimming their turnovers from 14 in the first half to four in the second.
Lohner led all BYU scorers with a career-high 20 on 9-of-11 shooting and four rebounds. George and Barcello followed with 16 and 14 points, respectively, while Traore totaled 11 points and seven rebounds. Traore’s three blocks on the night are tied for second all-time at BYU in blocks recorded in an NIT game.
Trevin Knell came off the bench for 10 points and four assists. Atiki Ally Atiki found holes in the paint and scored eight points with a career-high nine rebounds. Te’Jon Lucas scored six points while dishing out seven assists.
BYU advances to the second round of the NIT and will face Northern Iowa at the Marriott Center at 7 p.m. MDT on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and fans can listen to the matchup with the Panthers live on BYU Radio, BYU Sports Network and KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.
BYU hosts Long Beach State in opening round of NIT
PROVO, Utah – BYU will make its 15th appearance in the National Invitational Tournament on Wednesday, March 16, when the Cougars host Long Beach State in opening round action at the Marriott Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Wednesday’s contest will be broadcast on ESPN+. It will also be broadcast live on BYU Sports Network and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
BYU Notes (22-10, 9-6 West Coast Conference)
- BYU returns to the NIT for the first time since 2018 when they faced Stanford in the opening round.
- Alex Barcello enters postseason play 27th on the all-time scoring list as the senior guard has scored 1,282 points in 91career games.
- Te’Jon Lucas is the only player on the roster with NIT experience as the Milwaukee, Wis. Native played in three games during his freshman season at Illinois back in 2016-17.
Head Coach – Mark Pope
- Alma Mater: Kentucky, 1996
- Division I Career Record: 143-81 (7th Season)
- Record at BYU: 66-25 (3rd Season)
Long Beach State Notes (20-12, 12-3 The Big West)
- Long Beach State will make its ninth appearance in the NIT on Wednesday and first since the 2015-16 season.
- 15th year head coach Dan Monson was named the Big West Coach of the Year for a fourth time after leading LBSU to the regular season conference title after they were picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll.
- Colin Slater became the 10th different player in program history to be named the Big West Player of the Year after averaging 14.7 points per game.
Head Coach – Dan Monson
- Alma Mater: Idaho, 1985
- Division I Career Record:407-364 (25th Season)
- Record at LBSU: 237-241 (15th Season)
- Series Record: BYU leads 6-5
- Last Meeting, LBSU won 66-65, November 16, 2015
- H/A/N: 5-1/1-2/0-2
- TV: ESPN+
- TV Talent: Roxy Bernstein, Corey Williams
- 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, Mark Durrant
- Live stats: BYUCougars.com