BYU comes up short in 69-64 loss at Saint Mary's


MORAGA, Calif. – Despite 22 points from Alex Barcello, BYU was unable to overcome 17 turnovers as the Cougars came up short in a 69-64 decision to Saint Mary’s at University Credit Union Pavilion on Saturday night.

"I couldn't be more proud of the guys' fight, they battled the whole night," said BYU head coach Mark Pope. "We showed big-time character and big-time fight, but tonight we just weren't good enough to win."

BYU and Saint Mary’s battled back and forth through the first and early second half with the Gaels leading by as many as seven prior to responsive scoring runs by the Cougars.

Saint Mary’s led 40-35 early in the second half when Barcello sparked the Cougar offense with a 3-point play in the paint, cutting the deficit to two. Fousseyni Traore blocked the ensuing Saint Mary’s shot and after back-to-back scores from Seneca Knight and Te’Jon Lucas, BYU had tied the game at 42.

Moments later, turnovers and missed shots caught up with the Cougars as the Gaels pulled ahead with a 16-2 run. The 14-point swing proved decisive but not before a hard-fought comeback attempt from BYU.

Barcello, Lucas and Caleb Lohner helped the Cougars claw their way out of the hole to a six-point deficit with just over two minutes remaining.

Lohner barred the Gaels from the paint with a block out of the media timeout that set up a Barcello 3-pointer off the dish from Lucas. While Barcello’s score brought the Cougars within three at 67-64, the team was unable to come closer and saw the game slip away with Saint Mary’s free-throws in the final seconds.

While the Gaels out-shot the Cougars 48-45 percent from the field and 36-33 percent from three, BYU outrebounded Saint Mary’s 34-26 and 11-5 on the offensive glass. The Cougars also controlled points in the paint 38-32 and shot 82 percent from the free-throw line to Saint Mary’s 64 percent.

Knight complemented Barcello in double-figure scoring for BYU with 10 points while Lohner and Gideon George each scored nine. Lohner was a basket shy of a double-double with 11 rebounds. Lucas added eight points and four assists.

The Gaels were led by 25 points from guard Tommy Kuhse. A Kuhse conundrum and 16 Saint Mary’s points off 17 BYU turnovers combined to stave off the Cougars comeback attempt in Moraga.

After two weeks of road trips, BYU returns to the Marriott Center for its final two regular season games versus Loyola Marymount on Feb. 24 and Pepperdine on Feb. 26.

"We just need to find a way to regroup and find a way to play against a really tough LMU team on Thursday," said Pope. "That has to be all of our focus right now."

Watch BYU take-on LMU on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. MST on CBS Sports Network or listen to the play-by-play call on BYU Radio or the BYU Sports Network/KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.