BYU vs. BSU Postgame Notes and Quotes



PROVO, Utah — The following notes are from BYU's 74-70 loss to Boise State on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, at the Marriott Center.



Slow start

BYU started the game 14-0 and missed its first nine 3-pointers.

Trailing at the half

The Cougars have trailed at halftime twice this season and have lost both times.

Second half difference

After scoring only 21 points in the first half on 33 percent shooting, BYU came back to score 49 points in the second half on 61 percent shooting, to bring the Cougars close late.


Alex Barcello

Despite not attempting a shot until the final minute of the first half, Barcello ended up with a team-high 22 points in the game going 7-11 from the field, 4-6 from three and 4-6 from the free three line.

Matt Haarms

Haarms had a career-high 18 points to go along with four rebounds and a block.

Spencer Johnson

Johnson had a season-high-matching 10 points on 4-5 shooting, going 2-2 from three. The Cougars were +17 in the game with him on the floor.

Notable career highs/career firsts

Career-high points: Haarms (18), Johnson (10)


Mark Pope

On the game overall

"Congratulations to Boise State. We knew they were a good team coming in. They’re very talented in multiple positions. They came out with some fire and passion to start out the game, and we could not respond. I was proud of my guys for hanging in there, fighting, battling through frustration, and staying locked in, but we just weren’t quite good enough to get it done."

On the first half struggles

"It was super frustrating for us. Their length bothered us. We had 11 turnovers and probably 20 deflections. Really disappointing. We were a little stagnant, we had no pace — no flow. The more anxious we got, the more stuck on one side we got. It broke every principle that we work for. But that’s what happens with guys that haven’t been on the court together. You try and fix it yourself. You try and fix it with me, try and fix it right now, try to fix it as a team. Trusting the next guy, and trusting the next pass, and the next play, and it’s a little bit of a domino effect. It is a real immature approach to the game, and that’s what we’re dealing with right now offensively."

Matt Haarms

On the importance of ball movement on offense

"It’s always going to be about ball movement. That is the key for the team. That was the key for the team last year, was guys being unselfish and just throwing the ball to the other guy. It’s going to be the key this year. I think we’ve been successful in moving the ball, and as soon as the ball starts sticking, Coach Pope preaches that’s when our offense goes down in the dumps. We need to play with pace, play with force, and that’s not how we started the game tonight."

Alex Barcello

On what he saw on the final shot

"(The shot) felt really good. That was the first look that we drew up during the timeout. They were heavily guarding me, I was going to drive it and kick it to the weak-side corner, but my teammates all trust me and were like: 'If you see an opening, shoot that — go win us the game.' Not every shot falls. Sadly, it didn’t fall, and we lost the game. But we’re going to bounce back. I’m probably not going to sleep tonight, but there were a lot of things that we need to improve on."



Boise State Head Coach – Leon Rice

“I’ll start with how resilient our team is. We’ve got some toughness to us. We were without Marcus (Shaver) tonight, which led to heavy minutes for a lot of guys. I mean I got RayJ (Dennis) one sub - not that I wanted to sub him, because he's playing great. That's a hard duty to play; run this offense for 38 minutes and then guard (Alex) Barcello for 38 - he had a tough task tonight. These guys all stepped up.
We had a great start, especially defensively. But we knew, in their building, those first-half leads — you don’t want to call them fool's gold because we were playing great. But you knew they’d make a run and they hit some big shots. That shot Barcello hit at the end of that shot clock, as soon as he let it go I knew it was in. I knew we were going to have to get it done on the other end, too.
What a great play by RayJ at the end. We put the ball in his hands and he made a great decision coming off. They took away (Derrick Alston) in the corner, he found a wide open (Emmanuel Akot) and (Akot) made a big three. I’m so happy for him and all these guys.
Abu (Kigab) had a tough first half shooting the ball, and then we had to play him at the five against the 7-(foot)-3 guy. He became more of a mismatch at that end than they had at the other end and I thought that was a big key to the game.”

Senior Forward Abu Kigab

On not surrendering the lead...

“We could have been a lot better in the second half executing our offense, and you know we could have been a lot more disciplined on defense, but it's basketball you know teams are going to make runs and that's ok, we just had to respond.”
On winning on the road...

“This was a big win but we're not satisfied. We have got a lot of tough teams on our schedule and we just have to take it one day at a time, one game at a time. That's our mentality and we're just going to stick with it and see how far it takes us.”
Sophomore Guard RayJ Dennis

On playing with confidence

“We just we grinded over the summer, this long COVID period, so we had a longer summer than we normally would. We put in a ton of work and we get out there, we trust the work, and so we're confident. It comes off as confidence and hopefully wins.”