BYU-Central Methodist Postgame Notes & Quotes


The following notes are from BYU's 97-61 win over Central Methodist on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Marriott Center.



First Half

BYU maintained a lead throughout the entirety of the first half, finishing the half with a lead of 17 points at 46-29. Both BYU and Central Methodist shot 52% from the field during the first half, with the Cougars going 17-of-33 from the field and 54% from the three. Central Methodist went 11-of-21 from the field and 3-6 from the three. Senior Alex Barcello led the Cougars with 16 points, while Gideon George and Gavin Baxter followed with seven points each. Baxter added two blocks and four rebounds to the half, with George recording six rebounds.

Second Half

The Cougars maintained a comfortable lead through the second half, finishing the game with a lead of 36 at 97-61. BYU shot 21-of-34 from the field for 62 percent in the second half, while holding strong defensively and keeping Central Methodist at 11-of-23 in the half. Caleb Lohner led the Cougars offensively during the second half with 19 points, while Trevin Knell added seven points and Baxter and Atiki Ally Atiki each put in six.

Shooting and 3-Pointers

BYU shot 57% from the field against the Eagles, going 38-67. The Cougars took 24 shots from three-point range, hitting 11 for 46% to Central Methodist’s 50% from the field and 33% from three point range. BYU had 12 different players score tonight with six players scoring in double digits.

125 Wins

The win Saturday was the 125th total of Mark Pope's head coaching career.

Defense (TO/Rebs)

BYU controlled the floor on both ends, allowing only 61 points, grabbing 37 rebounds, forcing 20 turnovers that resulted in 27 points, nine steals and two blocks over the course of the game.


Caleb Lohner

Lohner led the Cougars with 19 points in his 18 minutes of play, tying his career-high for points in a game. He also added seven rebounds and two assists to his stat line. It's his first time scoring in double figures this season and the ninth time scoring in double figures in his career.

Gavin Baxter

Baxter contributed 13 points against Central Methodist, shooting 6-of-8 from the field. He also added five rebounds and two blocks in his 14 minutes of play. His 13 points were a season high. That ties the most he's scored in a game since scoring a career-high 25 points Feb. 2, 2019 against LMU as a freshman.

Alex Barcello … again

Barcello added 16 points on the night, shooting 6-for-10 from the field and 4-for-7 from three-point range, hitting multiple shots from 30+ feet. He also added three assists and a steal. Barcello is now shooting .523 from the field and .429 from three this season. Barcello has reached double figures in scoring for the seventh consecutive game, dating back to last season. He has made multiple 3-pointers in each of those games.

Gideon George

George supplied BYU with 11 points tonight, leading the team in rebounds with Lohner, both with seven. He also contributed one assist and one steal for the Cougars. 

Notable career highs/career firsts

Career-high points: Caleb Lohner (19 - tied), Atiki Ally Atiki (6), Casey Brown (3), Nate Hansen (3)

Career-high rebounds: Atiki Ally Atiki (4), Trey Stewart (1)

Career-high assists: Atiki Ally Atiki (1), Trey Stewart (1), Hunter Erikson (2), Seneca Knight (3)

BYU-high assists: Te'Jon Lucas (7)

Career-high steals: Trey Stewart (2)


Mark Pope

On kill chain

“Some of our guys have taken a liking to the kill chain. It’s kind of a fun deal to have on the sideline. Three stops is a kill, and there’s a deal that if we get a certain number of kills we feel like we have a really high percentage to win games. It’s going to be super important for us moving forward that we can get consecutive stops.”

On this season's schedule

“Four of our first five games are against NCAA tournament teams with basically their roster back. It’s awesome. We’re getting challenged every way, and obviously going to Utah is always an adventure. These rivalry games are the best thing going in non-conference. We play everybody in the state this year, and basketball in this state is on fire.”

“Two of our next four should be quad one games. The schedule’s tough, but it’s what we want. We like to test ourselves, and we want to find out where we’re falling short and where we need to get better, and that’s what a schedule like this does.”

On WCC play

“The league is good. San Francisco is 5-0 right now and they’re in the top 40. Saint Mary’s is undefeated and right at the top 40 in Kenpom, and Santa Clara has some really good wins.”

On Gavin Baxter play time

“I think he’s doing good, and we’re going to keep easing him into a little more minutes. But he’s playing well, and he had a great showing tonight, and we put him in a couple different positions, and he’s going to get more comfortable doing that, and we need him.”

On depth of the bench

“How great is it having your top defensive player and having the guy that makes your offense run the best, at least tonight, on the floor coming off the bench? It gives you so much confidence as a coach. The fact that we have these guys coming off the bench and playing such great basketball gives us so much confidence. Those guys mean a lot to us, and they’re really important.”

On Te’Jon Lucas

“He has seven assists tonight, and I think he’s just getting started. He’s got so much more in the tank. He’s our highest IQ defensive player. He makes us function defensively. He is a winner. He’s like, ‘alright, I’m gonna go fix it,’ and he does so much that doesn’t show up in the box score. His passion and joy in the gym, I just think he’s given so much to our team. He’s making us function.”

On the locker room

“We work so hard on our locker room, and nobody works on their locker room like we do. It is an everyday thing, and these guys are committed to do that.”

“Hopefully it gives belief to our guys, and they’ll double down on it and not back away from it. So that’s the beauty of having some wins early on.”

Caleb Lohner

On his offensive play tonight

“I just kept it simple. I got a lot of stuff in the paint, and honestly I was in the right spot at the right time a lot. I got some great passes. I give all credit to my teammates. Te’Jon made some amazing passes to me, Spencer hit me for a few, but all credit goes to my team on that one.”

On the importance of this game

“My mentality right now is that I'm going to be here every day, and I'm going to keep showing up and doing what this team needs. I play for my teammates and my teammates are going to play for me. We got guys coming in and picking each other up, and I think that's what makes this team really special.”

On six players scoring double-digit points

“We were getting stuff in transition, we were getting steals and we just had a lot of possessions. it was a pretty fast-paced game. I think it just becomes contagious. Guys start getting confident, they're seeing the rest of the team had shots and the ball was falling tonight.”

On the players coming in off the bench

“It was awesome. No one sees, but those dudes are, in a way, the backbone of our team. We are fighting and going hard against them every single day in practice, and nobody sees that. They're giving us their all in practice, and sometimes they don't really get the credit that I think they deserve. But it's so fun to see some of those guys hit the floor because they really do so much for this program.”

​​​​On the season so far

“It just shows how hard we've been working and as a team, how we’ve been playing together. It is cool to see. We've done some really cool things that some teams haven't done. To see that steady climb, I think is important to the guys. That reward of being 4-0 to start the season does do something to us. I think it's just a kind of reminder like, hey, if we keep doing what we're doing, we keep playing like a team, we keep doing the things that we're supposed to do, we're going to be a really good team.”

On BYU athletics today

“When we won the other night, the ROC was at the airport welcoming us back to Provo. That's special. Not a lot of programs have that. It's really cool to see this energy that we're building and all the credit goes to the football team, cross country, soccer, all these other teams at BYU Athletics that are just building this BYU stamina and it's really cool to see. I think right now is a special time for BYU."

Gavin Baxter

On performance tonight

“Each game I get more and more comfortable being out there. Even though my minutes are still a bit condensed, I’ve just got to worry about two things every game and for me I’m trying to play defense and rebound.”

On being 100%

“Physically, with my knee and the strength of my knee I’m between 90-100 percent. But It’s mostly about building my confidence in myself and knowing that I am capable, getting up and down the court, jumping, rebounding, just building confidence.”

“Confidence is on the up and up. We keep winning more games, building momentum and confidence. An important part of that is that we need to stay hungry and humble and keep trying to get better, because it’s only four games into the season.”

On being 4-0

“It’s a testament to how hard we work in the gym and just how much the team is a team. How much other guys are willing to make plays for each other, it’s really special and for now we just need to keep the momentum.”

On home-court advantage

“It’s crazy for the ROC to show out like they did tonight. It’s just nuts. The ROC is borderline delusional, in a good way, with how hype they are, and it means the world to us. We wouldn't be where we are without them. We need the Marriott Center and the energy that comes from playing at home. It’s a special place and we’ve got to protect this floor.”

On staying focused

“We've just got to stay focused on the things that matter, making plays for our teammates, playing defense, rebounding and the offense is going to take care of itself.”