Cougars cruise past LMU, earn season's 20th win


Notes & Quotes


PROVO, Utah – Four Cougars scored in double-figures as BYU men’s basketball shook-off Saturday’s loss at Saint Mary’s with a surgical dismantling of Loyola Marymount 79-59 at the Marriott Center Thursday night.

The Cougars controlled the game from start to finish, storming out to an early 22-5 lead and maintaining the 17-point cushion with a 45-28 halftime advantage. After shooting 59 percent in the first half, BYU’s offense cooled a bit in the second half before building a game-high 25-point lead and cruising to the 20-point win.

Four of the Cougars’ starting five scored in double figures with 14 points from Te’Jon Lucas, 13 from Caleb Lohner and 12 points from both Gideon George and Fousseyni Traore, respectively.

Lohner wasted no time letting loose on the Lions. The sophomore forward scored six of the Cougars’ first 10 points to go along with five quick rebounds. Lohner and Traore began the game assisting one another on post feeds and helped BYU dominate LMU in the paint by a score of 52-12.

“Caleb Lohner has been on a tear since the first time we played LMU a few weeks ago," said head coach Mark Pope. "He is really putting together great games, his minutes have been consistently off the charts and now look at how efficient he was tonight.”

BYU also outrebounded LMU 39-23 for the game, with Lohner and George spearheading the effort with 11 and seven rebounds, respectively. Thursday marked Lohner’s second career double-double.

“I think the guys played really well on the glass tonight," said Pope. "That is something we have to continue to work on. We have to find a way to dominate the glass because it is really important.”

After Lohner checked-out for the first time in the game, George took over. The senior from Minna, Nigeria buried a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 20-5 lead and moments later deciphered the LMU defense on his way to making an elbow jumper.

George recorded 10 of his 12 points in the first half and finished the opening period with another solo five-point swing as he knocked down a 3-pointer off an Alex Barcello assist and made an easy lay-in following a find by Spencer Johnson.

While George quieted on the offensive end in the second half, Lucas stepped-in to score eight of his 14 points after the half. The senior guard put defenders on the spin cycle throughout the night as he sliced his way to the basket for the score.

Traore and Lucas combined to spark the BYU offense to life after the break as Traore returned the ball to Lucas’s hands following a crowd-rousing denial of an attempted dunk by LMU forward Eli Scott.

Lucas went on to make quick work of shaking a defender, scoring and reasserting BYU’s control with a 19-point lead.

Barcello powered the BYU attack with seven assists that complemented nine points. Johnson scored eight points off the bench and Atiki Ally Atiki added six. Johnson and Ally Atiki each went 3-for-3 from the field. Ally Atiki punctuated BYU’s performance with an emphatic tomahawk slam dunk off an assist by Barcello in the game’s waning moments.

The Cougars finished the night shooting 54 percent from the field with 23 assists to 10 turnovers. Meanwhile, BYU forced nine LMU turnovers to just nine assists.

With the win over the Lions, BYU improves to 20-9, thus recording its third straight 20-win season and 20th in the last 22.

Barcello, Lucas, Richard Harward and Gavin Baxter will be honored at senior night in the team’s final home game of the season versus Pepperdine on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. MST.

Watch the Cougars’ take-on the Waves on ESPNU or tune-in for live play-by-play on BYU Radio, BYU Sports Network and BYU Sports Network KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM