BYU-Pepperdine Notes & Quotes


PROVO, Utah - The following notes are from BYU's 75-59 win over Pepperdine University on Saturday, February 26, at the Marriott Center.



First Half

After almost two minutes with no buckets from either team, Pepperdine got a three from the top of the arc and BYU answered back with a layup by Fousseyni Traore. Both teams continued shooting well, tying the game 13-13 six minutes into the half. After a four minute scoring drought with three turnovers, BYU’s senior Gideon George went 2 of 2 from the charity stripe to put the Cougars ahead 15-13. George’s free throws sent BYU on a 7-0 run over the Waves with baskets by Traore and Trevin Knell. Another Traore basket assisted by Te’Jon Lucas brought the score to 29-25 with the Cougars on top with four minutes left to play in the first half. BYU pulled through with a 36-33 lead going into the locker room, finishing the half shooting 45 percent from the field and 38 percent from the three-point line. The Waves finished shooting 48 percent from the field and 20 percent from the three. 

Second Half

Lucas started the scoring for the Cougars in the second half with a reverse layup. After a few slow minutes on the floor, a dunk by Atiki Ally Atiki and a crossover step-back three by Alex Barcello brought the energy back to the arena and put the Cougars up 49-40. BYU went on a 6-0 run over the Waves with the help of four baskets in a row from Traore, passing his career-high in points with 21. An electric dunk by Caleb Lohner continued another 6-0 run by the Cougars over Pepperdine, bringing the score to 61-46. BYU continued to pull ahead and finished the game on top with a final score of 75-59. The Cougars finished the night shooting 46 percent from the field, 27 percent from the three-point line and 62 percent from the free-throw line. The Waves ended the game shooting 38 percent from the field, 29 percent from the three and 55 percent from the charity stripe.


The Cougars were right around their season average as they shot 45.2 percent from the floor, 38.5 percent from behind the arc. However, BYU went 3-of-8 from the free-throw line in the first half, which has been a cause for concern throughout the season.

BYU improved its shooting in the second half by knocking down 46.9 percent of their shots from the field. The Cougars increased their free-throw percentage, making 7-of-8 attempts in the second half.


BYU outrebounded the Pepperdine 21-15 in the first half. The Cougars also grabbed seven offensive boards to the Waves two. The seven offensive rebounds led to eight BYU points in the first half.

Traore grabbed another 11 rebounds in the second half to set a career high with 19 rebounds, five coming on the offensive glass. Behind Traore’s career night, the Cougars were plus-10 in the rebounding category, grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and turned that into 18 second-chance points. 


The Cougars capitalized on 10 opponent turnovers for 14 points. BYU also held Pepperdine to under 60 points on the night.

Points in the Paint

Of BYU’s 36 first half points, the Cougars scored 14 of those in the paint. Traore led BYU with 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting, grabbed 8 boards, dished out three assists and swatted away two shots in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, the Cougars were uncharacteristically poor from behind the arc but they were able to pound the glass and score 26 points in the paint. When it was all said and done, 40 of BYU’s 75 points came in the painted area, 25 of which came from Traore.


Fousseyni Traore

Fousseyni Traore had himself a game posting career highs in both points and rebounds. Traore scored 25 points on 9-of-10 from the floor and 7-for-9 from the charity stripe. He finished with a freshman record19 rebounds, 5 offensive boards, three assists and two blocks.

In a 2:37 stretch of game time in the second half, Traore scored 10 straight points for the Cougars to extend their lead to 13 and give BYU the separation to pull away and pull out the win.

Te’Jon Lucas

Te’jon Lucas shot 60 percent from the floor tonight en route to 15 points, four assists and two rebounds. Lucas was 2-for-4 from behind the arc in his final game in Provo.

Alex Barcello

Alex Barcello finished his Marriott Center career with a final double-digit scoring performance. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-11 shots, was 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal in his last appearance in Provo.

Notable career highs/career firsts

Career High Points: Fousseyni Traore (25)

Career High Rebounds: Fousseyni Traore (19)



Mark Pope

On Fousseyni Traore’s progression

“Pretty early on he showed that  he had some patience in the post and most young bigs get sped up. That’s the thing that almost every young big has to fight is to slow down…Fouss hasn’t needed that like most freshman bigs. He’s got great touch, he’s super diligent, he tries every day how to do it better, he’s really smart and he was fantastic tonight.”

On the WCC Tournament

“We get to go play Friday. That's not a space we've occupied maybe ever but right now for us for the last month it's been about finding a way to win games. We just got to find a way to win the game and I like our trend, I like our momentum. I thought our defensive effort, especially in our back court, was terrific today… I think our guys' effort on the defensive end and focus is growing so I think we're trending right, and we need to because it's time now. Time to go win.”

Fousseyni Traore

Traore’s Opening Statement

Hey everybody, I’m really proud of our guys tonight,” said BYU forward Fousseyni Traore. “Today we played a good game against Pepperdine and finished the regular season strong. Today was a special day for us, especially for AB and Te’Jon. They have played a big role in leading this team, especially helping Attiki and I’m super grateful for them. I’m really happy and grateful for the support the crowd gives us. I don’t think you can find that anywhere else. I’m really grateful to be here at BYU and to be a part of this program.

On Barcello’s “Dame Time” Three

When Alex hit the step-back three and did the “Dame time”, I was so hyped. AB needs to chill a little bit. It was a fun moment.

On the coaches trusting him

“I would just say that it is really special. I really appreciate how much the coaches trust me. I just need to keep getting better so I can keep their trust.”

Alex Barcello

On his time at BYU

“When I really think about it, I start to get emotional knowing where I came from, the support my fiance and my mom and sisters have given me through this journey. I look for any little ways to help my teammates get better, and they help me become a better leader. At the end of the day, it’s a team game. I just wanted to be part of something bigger than myself and this has been such an incredible time. I will always hold BYU at a special place in my heart

On tournament

“End of February and beginning of March, anything can happen. We are not in the position that we wanted to be in right now, but beating these last two teams by double digits is hard to do, no matter how good the other teams are. Every team is fighting for their lives right now, so we just want to be playing our best basketball.”

On team fight

“We are ready to fight. We don’t see our season ending anytime soon, and we want to go out with a bang. I think everyone on the roster wants to as well.”

On step-back 3-pointer

“It was incredible. I didn’t want to walk into the game hunting for anything like that, but when you are really invested in the game and you lose yourself in the team, moments like that happen. You really have to lose yourself in the team and sacrifice things for the team and the game will reward you. The energy this fanbase brings is amazing and we feed off that. I am excited to see them these next few years and in the BIG12. It was an incredible feeling tonight for sure.”

On Fousseyni Traore

“I have been saying this all year, but this man is way better than he thinks he is. This team and these coaches are lucky to have a guy like him here at BYU. He is so willing to learn and when you put his natural talent together with his work ethic, it is incredible. Him and Atiki have grown a lot and they bring a lot of joy to this team.”

Te’Jon Lucas

On tournament seed

“Being in fifth is not where we want to be, but we are just going to go in and take it one game at a time. This is season three now, it’s win or go home and the good thing about that is we’ve been playing that way for the last few weeks. I think we will carry that edge over to Vegas with us.”

On pregame speech

“Nate gave the pregame speech today and first, he wanted to acknowledge that it is mine and Alex’s last game on this floor, with these fans, and to make sure we embraced that. This was our last regular season game and he told us to go out there and fight because we didn’t want to end the regular season on a loss. We just went out there and tried to do what he said, which I think helped a lot.”

On Fousseyni Traore’s game

“To get 25 points and 19 rebounds as a freshman is absurd. 9 for 10 on shooting, the man is a monster.”