The following notes are from BYU's 108-59 win over Westminster on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at the Marriott Center.
ALL-TIME SERIES: 3-0 BYU
BYU led the nation in 3-point shooting last season (42.2 percent) and picked up where they left off, going 18-39 (46.2 percent). The 18 threes tie a BYU single-game all-time record, set last season at LMU and set a BYU record in the Marriott Center. Ten different players hit 3-pointers, also a BYU record.
The 49-point margin of victory is the eighth largest in BYU history and the largest margin of victory since 2010.
BYU had 14 different players get on the court and 13 scored points.
Barcello scored a career-high 25 points. His previous career high was 18, which he registered twice last season. In a different role last season, Barcello averaged 3.3 points per game. Barcello led all scorers tonight.
In his first game as a Cougar, Averette scored the Cougars’ first basket of the season and finished with 15 points, had four assists and hit three 3-pointers.
In his first game as a Cougar, Johnson didn’t miss, going 3-3 from the field, 2-2 from 3-point range and 2-2 from the free-throw stripe, for 10 total points.
Notable career highs/career firsts
First career points: Averette (15), Johnson (10), Gideon George (6), Caleb Lohner (5), Wyatt Lowell (5), Richard Harward (4), Jesse Wade (3), Hunter Erickson (3)
First career rebound: Harward (7), Lohner (5), Lowell (3), Erickson (2), George (2), Johnson (2)
First career assist: Averette (4), Lohner (3), Wade (2), Johnson (1), Harward (1)
First career 3-pointer: Averette (3), George (2), Johnson (2), Wade (1), Lowell (1), Erickson (1)
Career-high points: Alex Barcello (25), Averette (15), Johnson (10), Gideon George (6), Caleb Lohner (5), Wyatt Lowell (5), Richard Harward (4), Jesse Wade (3), Hunter Erickson (3)
Career-high rebounds: Harward (7), Lohner (5), Lowell (3), Erickson (2), George (2), Johnson (2)
Career-high assists: Kolby Lee (5), Averette (4), Lohner (3), Wade (2), Johnson (1), Harward (1)
Career-high 3-pointers: Averette (3), George (2), Johnson (2), Wade (1), Lowell (1), Erickson (1)
BYU HEAD COACH MARK POPE
On adapting to a different atmosphere
"It was a huge group of guys that we met with around the Marriott Center. We just challenged ourselves to somehow have the best gym in the country with no fans. That's what we're trying to do. I thought that they were awesome tonight, not just the video board with fans on it, which was really cool, but also the banners were great. I actually loved the sound system. Before the guys even started, they had soundtracks of The ROC doing regular ROC cheers, and then there was responses and the cheering. There's somebody in the control booth pushing buttons. Gavin Baxter had a big block in the second half, and the gym erupted. It’s pretty fun. We're incredibly grateful that everybody here at BYU is doing the very best they can, and hopefully that's what our program is going to do to."
On assessing the BYU guard play
"They have a chance to be really good as a tandem in the backcourt. I thought they really shared the ball today. I thought they tried to put pressure in transition all night long which I was really, really happy with. They were 16-for-27 tonight from the field which is absolutely fantastic. Only six assists, but I'm guessing the opportunities were a little bit higher, but I didn't feel like the ball ever got sticky. And that's a real tribute to them. We’ve talked about this before. I'm so accustomed playing four playmakers on the floor at all times, and now we're playing a lot of the game with maybe just two and a half playmakers, and for them to make it so the ball didn't get sticky is a real tribute to them."
On assessing the team without having scrimmages or exhibition games
"I was really, really, really happy with the six turnovers. Two of them were off illegal screens, so the six turnovers is not actually probably an accurate indication of where we are right now. I think we talked last week about how we don't really understand what we're doing yet, and so that's a little scary, and that's going to come with a lot of bumps in the road. If you had asked me before the game if we keep it at six turnovers, I would have said yeah, I hope so. But I don't think that's realistic, so that was probably the best part of the night in terms of us performing the way we want to."
On Matt Haarms's availability
"He’s literally kind of hour-by-hour. I was even thinking that I wasn't sure if there was going to be a chance tonight. We decided to forego that and we got him a good workout today. This evening, postgame, it seems like he's still feeling good. There's not a lot of soreness, so we'll reevaluate in the morning when he wakes up and kind of make it a game-time decision tomorrow. He’s going to be such an incredibly valuable part of this team. We're being probably a little bit hyper-cautious, but it should be soon."
On being happier with 10 offensive rebounds or Kolby Lee's seven assists
"How about this Kolby Lee, right? He's been so fantastic. He got us off to a really good start tonight with a couple offensive rebounds, scored the first five points, was really solid with his defensive feet. In fact, I never got frustrated with him all night long in terms of his feet defensively, which is such a big deal. And I am pleased with the effort on the offensive glass. We need to find a way to stay double figures if we can. It's a place where we should be. You can't always control that, but if we keep with a solid effort on the glass every night, we should be able to approach it."
On Wyatt Lowell's return from injury
"I'm actually so shocked. I'll be honest with you. You've got to give so much credit to everybody from Doctor Morrison, who did the surgery, to, of course, Rob Ramos and Eric Schork. He's four months and three days, I think that's the right timeline, from the surgery, and actually played live in a game and felt great. And obviously, a lot of credit goes to Wyatt also. He's worked incredibly hard and a lot of credit goes to him. He played well, he had three rebounds in limited minutes. His feet were really, really solid defensively. You can see what kind of length and potential he has; we're really excited about him."
On Gavin Baxter's health
"Gavin tried to take charge, and it was the first time he's tried to take a charge, and on the way off the floor he said that 'I’ll never try to do that again ever again.' He just brings such a spark of energy to our team, it's awesome. But he’s probably not going to be a charge leader for us and I'm actually okay with that."
On the quick turnaround and testing
"We have tests that are still coming, so we're tested three times every week. I don't think we'll be able to test. I don't know if we test again tomorrow morning, or Friday morning, but they just continue to run these PCR tests, and we're just doing the best we can. In terms of schedule, we finished the game, the guys came back for a stretch right away, which is really the only good thing about not having fans, is we could get in a great stretch right after game with the quick turnout. And then there's new legislation, actually, that when you have back-to-back games you can have an hour of film postgame which we have not been allowed to do in the past. We went straight to the locker room, and Coach Robinson has got the scout for tomorrow, so he jumped on it, and we broke down the film and broke down the personnel for tomorrow's game."
On hitting 18 3-pointers
"I don't know this for a fact, but we had 10 guys — I think we had 10 guys — make threes. I have to go back and look exactly, but I would guess that's probably a record also. I don't anticipate us making 18 each night. I expect this to be a really good three-point shooting team because of how we approach it. And we've chronicled that in great detail about how we shoot the ball. I thought the best thing guys did today was they owned their shot and they worked really hard to earn their teammates shots. That's been a good recipe for us. Hopefully it'll continue to be a staple for us as long as we're here, because it's a really important part of the game right now, and it's something where a day never goes by that we haven't dedicated a very significant portion of our practice to shooting. We expect that we're going to make shots. At what level, who knows, but we'll keep making shots."
On what contributed to the 3-point success
"We hit the open man. We swung the ball and made the extra pass. This is a very unselfish team, and we were just going over the stats — I think we had 10 guys who had threes tonight. That's a big deal for us. We stress shooting open threes all the time. Making the extra pass, being unselfish with the ball, and we were happy that it played out that way tonight."
On the depth and energy level of this team
"A lot of energy. Everyone's ready to come in, and I think we were all kind of sick in two-a-days. We wanted to play in an actual game. But these guys are ready to go. We had a lot of talent. There's a lot of young guys that are still trying to learn our system, learn our defensive schemes. But the energy that these guys bring in, day in and day out, is just unbelievable. It's fun to play with."
On if this year's team could be a better shooting team than last year's
"I think so. No doubt in my mind. Last year's team, we were a great three-point shooting team, but I think this year's team has it in them. We stress shooting wide open threes every single day, working with all of our coaches on our staff. We practice the first 20 to 25 minutes of practice just getting up as many threes as we can. I think we do have the potential to get there."
On playing in the backcourt with Brandon Averette
"Oh, it's fun. He’s such a great teammate. Great, great character. High character off the court. He puts in the work. He's in here morning and night. He lives in this gym, and it's just fun to play with a teammate who loves the game as much as he does. He gives everything he has to the game. It was fun tonight. We're both quick guards. We love to push in transition. Whatever it is, we're going to push it as fast as we can up the court and make the right play."
On changing his number to 13
"I'm going to give a shout out to my girlfriend. She mentioned it to me. At first, she said that it was her favorite number and to just change to it. I'd always been number 23 growing up, and then I kind of was forced to be number four, just because it was only jersey that fit me, because I came late. I just kept talking to her. She joked about it being her favorite number. I also have a tattoo on me that's a Bible scripture, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It kind of fit, you know. I wasn't supposed to have number four. I didn't choose that, but it just by chance, and then I was like 'might as well.' So that's the story."
On teammates that impressed him in tonight's game
"B.A., but that's no surprise to me. Just how hard he works and how he was mature enough to play with four fouls. He got a couple quick fouls in the first half. Being able to play through just shows he's a veteran, being able to produce like he did out there tonight and have four fouls, it just speaks to the work that he puts in. Also, all of our bigs that we have, the way that they were rebounding tonight, the way that they ran the floor, traded space for our guards. I was telling Kolby he might not have gotten a lot of shots, but that's a lot of respect to him. What he did last year with his quick shots, he's a great, smart, high-IQ player, and for him to see that double team come in a couple times in the post and check it out for wide open threes, it's just smart. It's just how we play. It's the culture that we bring in. He's just such a smart player."
On the quick turnaround for the next game
"Right now, we're going over scout, trying to try to see our New Orleans plays, all their personnel, and then their offensive and defensive schemes. And then just taking care of our bodies, getting a good meal and good rest tonight. We'll come in tomorrow for a light shoot around, going over their plays, kind of half walkthrough, half full speed. And then just prepare and keeping our bodies healthy. We're a very deep team, like someone said earlier in this conversation, but we've still got to be mature. We've got to take care of our bodies, because it's a quick turnaround."
On the unique atmosphere of the game with limited fans
"It’s different for sure. We're just glad that it wasn't practice. We got to play in front of a couple fans and then that screen was pretty big time. It kind of mimicked what they had in the NBA bubble, and it was cool. We had to bring a lot of energy from the bench. Guys were really into it. I think that just helps us come closer as a team, the bench interacting with the game and talking to guys on the floor, calling out actions and just being happy for one another."
On hitting 18 threes as a team
"Honestly, we're just doing what we do. We have this thing, Coach says just finish every single shot, and he kind of just keeps us consistent, even when we miss shots. We do the same thing every time, and today they just so happened to be falling. The way we move the ball and get each other open just makes it so much easier."
On the unique atmosphere of the game with limited fans
"Honestly, it was pretty cool to see. There were a few times I kind of forgot that the gym was empty. I felt the energy on the bench and just throughout our team. We brought our own energy, and we're just going to continue to do that throughout the year and just going to continue to play this game that we love with tremendous energy, and it is going to be fun."
On making his debut for BYU
"Coming in, I was a little nervous, a little anxious, just ready to get out there and show the world what our team has to bring to the table. I feel like we did really well as a team. Since all these two-a-days and all, I feel like we did great as a team, and we ended up getting the win."
On the size of the frontcourt opening up things for the backcourt
"They just bring a lot of attention. We're lucky to have some great, athletic bigs who are able to guard guards on the defensive end, so it's not much of a mismatch on the defensive end. Most teams like to play small, and it just makes it easiest for on the offensive glass, just protect the rim, get easy post ups, and most of the times when we post up we score. A few times guys brought a double, then that's when we started getting open threes. Just playing together makes the game so much easier."