No. 24 BYU falls to Creighton, 83-71, on Saturday afternoon


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Despite 28 points from Alex Barcello and a BYU career-high 13 points from Seneca Knight, No. 24 BYU was unable to overcome an 18-point halftime deficit in an 83-71 loss to Creighton on Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.

“Congratulations to Creighton, they played great today,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “I liked our team’s fight and the good news is that we’ve got a whole week now to work really hard and get better.”

Creighton took control in the first half with an early 10-2 lead that ballooned to a 48-30 advantage at the half. The Bluejays gave the Cougars fits in the paint throughout the game, with 7-foot-1 center Ryan Kalkbrenner recording five of Creighton’s seven blocks on the day.

While BYU finished the game having outrebounded the Bluejays, the Cougars were outscored 36-28 in the paint and outshot 45-39 percent from the field.

A strong second half allowed the Cougars to cut into Creighton’s lead, but 11 Bluejay points off 15 BYU turnovers ultimately sealed the loss. 

Barcello’s 28-point performance allowed BYU to claw back into the game, as it cut Creighton’s lead to 10 in the second half with 44 percent shooting from the field. 

During a five-minute second half span, BYU resurged on a 15-4 run and forced 12 missed shots by the Bluejays. Barcello and Trevin Knell hit key 3-pointers during the Cougar run with Barcello’s coming off a heads-up offensive rebound from Fousseyni Traore.

The Cougars came within 10 after a strong defensive possession kept the Bluejays off the scoreboard and led to a Barcello outlet pass in transition to Knight for the corner triple.

Creighton responded on the ensuing possession with a 3-pointer of its own from shooting guard Alex O’Connell.

While the BYU defense kept Creighton scoreless from the field over the last four minutes, the Bluejays ended the game with 10-straight points scored at the free-throw line.

Barcello’s 28 points is one-short of tying a career-high. The senior from Chandler, Arizona shot 11-of-20 from the field and 5-of-7 from deep. Knight’s BYU career-high 13 points included 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

The Bluejays had four scorers in double-figures and were led by forward Ryan Hawkins’ 25 points.

BYU returns to action with an in-state battle versus Weber State on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. MST at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah. Watch the Cougars face the Wildcats on KJZZ or ESPN+ or listen live on BYU Radio, the BYU Sports Network and BYU Sports Network KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.