Big Bench Play, Another Strong Second Half leads to WCC road win over USF
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — BYU men’s basketball defeated San Francisco 72-63 on Saturday night in a back-and-forth battle until the Cougars (11-3, 2-1) pulled away with a dominant second-half performance for the second straight game.
“I’m telling you, if we could put more weekends like this together, where these guys are just this tough, and their resolve is this sure, and they’re able to manage frustration in such a focused way, it bodes well for the possibilities of this team," said BYU head coach Mark Pope, "because we will keep getting better, if we can always rely on this toughness, we can get something done. I could not be more proud to be associated with this basketball team right now with what these guys did this weekend."
It was a dominating performance from the bench, with Gideon George and Richard Harward leading the way. The two combined for 23 points, with George scoring 10 points and Harward scoring 13. Harward finished the game with a season-high 11 rebounds and picked up his second double-double this season.
BYU outscored USF (9-7, 3-3) in the paint with a 40-18. All of Harward’s points came in the paint and a majority of George’s. Matt Haarms added nine points down low. He also had seven rebounds and two blocks.
The Cougars outrebounded the Dons 45-28. Harward led the way. Along with Haarms, Caleb Lohner also had seven rebounds.
At halftime, BYU trailed 27-26, with seven first-half turnovers quelling the Cougars’ momentum. Midway through the second half, the Cougars went on a 22-4 run that would eventually put them up for good. BYU had a similar stretch on the road at St. Mary’s two night’s earlier to help secure that WCC road win.
While the Dons outshot the Cougars from three in the first half, San Francisco went cold for the remainder of the game, until Shabaz shot four triples in a row in the final minutes, that were ultimately too little too late.
Alex Barcello ended up leading the Cougars in scoring with 19 points. Ten of his points came in the final 1:48, all from the free-throw line, going 10-for-10 to ice the game away.
At 2-1 in West Coast Conference play, BYU now sits third in conference standing behind No. 1 Gonzaga (4-0) and Pacific (2-0).
“I’m really proud of these guys and how we fought back in both games and came out with the road sweep," Barcello said. "It really speaks to our toughness, how to battle through and continue to get stops, put stops together. We say three continuous stops is a kill, and we had a lot of those tonight, and I was extremely proud of our guys.”
The Cougars will return home for more conference play against Portland on Thursday. Tip-off time is still to be announced. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network and broadcast on the BYU Sports Networks on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.