LAS VEGAS – The following notes are from BYU's 82-77 win over Pepperdine in the WCC Tournament semifinal on Monday, March 8, 2021, at Orleans Arena.
ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS: BYU leads 18-8
A TALE OF TURNOVERS
The Cougars turned the ball over a total of 21 times, a team WCC-tournament high and season-high, with Pepperdine scoring 24 points off of those turnovers. The Wave’s Colbey Ross tied his season high with seven turnovers. BYU took advantage of 14 Pepperdine turnovers, only scoring nine points off of those.
BYU picked up 24 personal fouls in this game. Brandon Averette fouled out with 3:14 left in overtime. Caleb Lohner came close to exiting the game with four personal fouls, while Spencer Johnson and Richard Harward both got three. Trevin Knell had a technical foul in the middle of the second half. Both teams combined for 49 total fouls with 12 coming in the first six minutes of the second half.
FANTASTIC FREE THROWING
The Cougars shot 85 percent from the free throw line going 23-for-27. Barcello and Haarms both shot a perfect 8-for-8. Pepperdine shot 70 percent, making 14 on 20 attempts. Eight of BYU’s 10 overtime points came from the free throw line.
Clutch plays by BYU players in overtime helped the Cougars clinch a spot in the WCC final. A monumental steal by Johnson with only seconds left, stopped any opportunity for Pepperdine to send it into double overtime. Two final free throws by Barcello within the last ten seconds solidified the win.
Alex Barcello - Tied a career rebounds with nine. Led all players with 23 points.
Matt Haarms - 18 points, 100 percent free throw shooting (8-8), seven rebounds, three blocks.
Brandon Averette- 16 points, two rebounds, five assists, (5-6) free throw shooting.
COACH AND PLAYER QUOTES
Head Coach Mark Pope
On the seniors…
“These seniors, what they’re living for is this opportunity to play in the postseason. They know how rare it is to get to be in this position we’re in right now, and they've been working really hard. I’m so proud of these guys, I believe from the depths of my heart these seniors are magic. They've paid their dues, they've worked so hard, they know what it's supposed to feel like, what it tastes like and how it is.”
On Alex Barcello…
“After last season we lost seven seniors, and Alex was in some ways the only guy left, and I think Alex felt it a lot. I think he felt like, ‘what's this year gonna be like?’ and he took it upon himself, reaching out to every single guy on his team, reaching out to the new guys coming to the program, trying to help them understand what getting better every day actually means what turning frustration into fight actually means, and then you look at what him and his team have accomplished to get to this point, and it's just really special.“
On playing Gonzaga in the WCC Final…
“We have got to do exactly what we couldn't do tonight. We have to protect this ball and find a way to be physical and forceful enough to protect this ball. We have to do everything we can to limit transition opportunities now. Don't mistake our recognition of the ‘Zags for any part of us thinking we won't win this game tomorrow. We've got to be really, really hyper focused. And then we’ve got to go grind it out. We’ve got to believe. We’re really good at believing that when we play great, we can win, and even that if we’re playing sideways, we can still find a way to tough it out. We’re not grateful for a third chance to play the ‘Zags because we think we’re going to lose. We're grateful for a third chance to play the ‘Zags because we can't wait to go take another real shot at this and see if we can change the story.”