BYU drops second-straight WCC contest, falls at Pacific, 76-73


Stockton, Calif. — BYU suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in the Mark Pope era, dropping a second-straight WCC matchup in a physical 76-73 loss to Pacific at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Saturday night.

Alex Barcello led the Cougars (17-6, 5-3 WCC) with 19 points and six rebounds. Te'Jon Lucas finished with 13 points, four rebounds and four steals, while Gideon George added 11 points and four rebounds. 

The two teams shot nearly identically from the field as the Cougars finished shooting 42.0 percent to the Tigers' 400.0 percent, but Pacific (6-13,1-4 WCC) shot 39.0 percent from deep compared to BYU's 33.0 percent from long range, one of the difference makers in the game.

The Cougars scored 34 points in the paint for the Tigers' 28, and scored more fast break points and bench points were outscored in second chance points, 11 to six. 

First Half

Barcello opened the game knocking down a 3-pointer and on BYU’s next possession down, pick-and-roll action between Barcello and Fousseyni Traore got the freshman forward a wide open dunk. 

Pacific scored five unanswered to tie it up early before Trevin Knell hit a triple from the corner and Barcello hit a running floater to put the Cougars up five again, 10-5. The Tigers then went on an 11-0 run to take a 16-10 lead with 11:15 left in the half, forcing a BYU timeout. 

Coming off the bench, Gideon George went to work, scoring a jumper in the paint. Te’Jon Lucas went 1-of-2 from the free throw line and George swatted a Pacific layup away, leading to a transition trey by Barcello that tied the game at 16-all. 

Two Atiki Ally Atiki layups sandwiched between a Lucas reverse layup put the Cougars back in front, 22-21. An Ally Atiki baby hook and a reverse lay-in by George gave BYU a three-point lead, but Pacific again tied it up, this time at 26-up. 

A Caleb Lohner layup then gave the Cougars a two-point advantage, but the Tigers closed the half on a 5-0 run to lead 33-28 through the first 20 minutes.

Second Half

After Pacific hit two free-throws 11 seconds in, Lohner scored BYU’s first points of the half on a layup, following it up with a traditional 3-point play. The Cougars scored on a Lucas floater, free throw by Traore and Ally Atiki layup, but the Tigers remained on the attack, holding a 42-38 lead through the first four minutes.

Fouled on a 3-pointer, Barcello knocked down all three free throws from the charity stripe. Seneca Knight was then fouled on a drive, putting BYU in the bonus at the 13:06 mark of the second half. The junior transfer hit both free throws before a Lucas steal led to a transition triple by George put the Cougars ahead by four, 46-42. 

A Knight layup and two Lucas free throws ended an 8-0 run by the Tigers and tied the game at 50-apiece. Following a pair of Pacific tree throws, two missed Lohner free throws, a turnover and an empty BYU possession allowed three-straight Pacific buckets that capped a 9-0 run and spanned a clock malfunction that caused a minor delay in the action.

Coming out of a Cougar timeout, the Tigers got a traditional 3-point play before Lucas ended the 12-0 run with four-straight free throws, making it 62-54, Pacific. The Tigers knocked down another pair of free throws to lead by 10 with less than four minutes to go. 

George got a layup to go but after Barcello was called for a charge, Pacific scored on a full-court inbounds layup to retain the 10-point advantage. The Tigers then went 3-of-4 from the free throw line for a game-high lead of 13 before a Knell corner three made it 69-59, Pacific with just over two minutes to go.

Opening up a full court press, the Cougars got back-to-back layups by George and Lucas on two-straight steals. Two missed Pacific free throws and a Traore layup capped a 9-0 BYU run to pull within four at 69-65, with 1:29 remaining. 

After both teams hit a pair of free throws, Pacific went 1-of-2 from the line 1-2. Barcello then knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, making it a two-point game, 72-70. Barcello forced a jump-ball that allowed the Cougars to regain possession, but was then tied up himself, giving the Tigers the ball back with 27 seconds left.

Nearly forcing a turnover and a jump ball, BYU was called for a foul and Pacific hit both free throws to lead by four with 11 seconds to go. Barcello then drove the court but missed a running jumper and the Cougars were forced to foul again. 

The Tigers again knocked down the pair and Barcello hit a corner three as time expired, but it was too little, too late, and BYU would fall 76-73.

BYU will return home to host San Francisco on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and on BYU Radio or the BYU Sports Network/KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.