BYU-San Francisco Notes & Quotes
The following notes are from BYU's 79-73 win over San Francisco on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, at the Marriott Center.
ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS: BYU leads 21-9
First Half Notes
San Francisco began the game playing physical defense against BYU’s post players in an effort to keep them out of the offense. The Dons held BYU’s Matt Haarms and Richard Harward to a combined two first half points.
The game was close throughout the first half, with San Francisco answering every BYU bucket. The Cougars trailed 20-18 midway through the half when Alex Barcello hit a three, beginning the 8-0 run that sparked the team to an eventual 41-33 lead at the break.
The half was highlighted by Caleb Lohner awakening the Marriott Center crowd with a monstrous slam dunk in transition off of a Spencer Johnson steal and assist.
Second Half Notes
After shooting a scorching 66% from field in the first half, the Cougars cooled off, but only a touch, hitting 52% of their shots in the second half. BYU connected on 7-of-13 from three in the second half, five of which coming from Barcello. Barcello finished the day 7-of-7 from deep, setting new BYU and career records. The Cougars defense made a big impact in the second half. After making 48% of its shots in the first half, USF only shot 31% in the second half.
Alex Barcello finished the night with a career-high 29 points. Before tonight, Barcello’s career high was 25. Barcello also set a BYU record for the most made threes without a miss in a 7-for-7 night, which also set a career high. On the other sideline, Julian Rishwain scored a career high 25 points on 8-of-13 from the field. His career high in points before tonight was 15.
Owning the Glass
BYU outrebounded the Dons 35-29, pulling down 13 more defensive rebounds than USF. San Francisco outrebounded the Cougars on the offensive glass, 14-7, and scored 14 second chance points. BYU finished the night with seven offensive rebounds.
Dishing the Rock
BYU finished with 23 assists as a team on 30 made baskets. BYU’s senior guards in Barcello and Averette each finished with a team-high five assists. Matt Haarms finished the game with a career-high four assists.
Finishing Down Low
BYU outscored USF 34-16 in the paint. Forwards Caleb Lohner and Gideon George each scored in double figures, Lohner with 13 and George with 11. Haarms added six points and Harward added two.
San Francisco guard Khalil Shabazz averaged 26 points per game and 59% from three the last three matchups against the Cougars. Tonight, Shabazz only scored 12. He shot 38% on attempts from three and went 3-of-11 from the field.
Forward Gideon George
On how it was to play in front of fans at home …
"It felt great. It’s really amazing because when I had my visit, it was the game against Gonzaga, so I saw all the fans. I’ve never had that experience until tonight, so it was really amazing."
On the play of Alex Barcello …
"Alex is a bucket, so I’m never really worried about him. I know he can go off any given night. I believe in Alex. All our guys trust (him). He’s like the captain of the ship. He’s a great leader, leading the way—you saw it on the floor tonight. Alex will be Alex, every given night."
Forward Caleb Lohner
On his big first half dunk …
"It was fun. This is my first time playing in the Marriott Center with more than 200 people in it. Crowd went crazy. I was all smiles. It was fun."
On if there were any additional nerves with fans in the stands …
"I don’t think so. I think it was more that we were just excited to play in front of them, our whole team. We haven’t played in front of anyone nearly all year, and so going around to different gyms—especially the gyms in California—there’s nobody in there. I think everyone on the team was just super excited. It gave us a little bit of extra energy in warmups and starting the game, so we were really stoked to have extra fans."
On how USF limited his scoring in the second half …
"They didn’t do anything, I just didn’t score as much. I got some more rebounds, made some plays, but this team is awesome, and that’s what’s cool. Yeah, I scored some points in the first half, in the second half I didn’t really need to. We had guys stepping up. This is a huge team effort, it’s not an individual effort and it’s awesome. It’s this big family we have and it’s so great and you guys can see it on the court. It’s fun."
Head Coach Mark Pope
On the game and having fans …
“It sure was beautiful to have people in the building. It’s such a different energy and we’re so incredibly grateful for it, but it felt super weird in the gym during those first ten minutes. People were reacting to plays and there were cheers. It’s been a long time since we had people in the gym. We’re incredibly grateful to President [Kevin J.] Worthen and to [Advancement Vice-President] Keith Vorkink and to [Director of Athletics] Tom Holmoe, for allowing that to happen. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for coming away with a win in a hard-fought game.”
On Alex Barcello’s three-pointers ...
“Every shot, he shot with more and more arc. He knew they were going in. He didn’t miss a shot the whole morning at shoot-around. He was shooting it higher and higher so it would take longer to get to the rim, so that all the fans could take it in. It was amazing!”
On Caleb’s development …
“Caleb Lohner worries about the right things. That is his greatest accomplishment this season. He is a freshman that worries about the right things. He’s not worried about [the accolades]. It’s incredible for a freshman to come into every single day and say, ‘let me figure out how I can be a force on the glass and how I can really lockdown on my defensive assignment.’ When you build your game that way, which very few freshman are smart enough or willing enough to do, you have a chance to grow into something really incredible.”
“On the road [last week], Caleb started grabbing offensive rebounds in both games and you could hear the opposing bench screaming, ‘Block him out! Block him out!’ You know that’s all they had gone over when scouting us. They knew they had to find a way to block out Caleb Lohner and nobody can do it.”
On staying safe from COVID thus far and going forward …
“Our guys are all feeling a real commitment to this team. They’re working really hard to stay safe and we’ve been really fortunate.
We’re not letting COVID take another tournament away from us. It can’t happen. As the season has gone on, we have grown increasingly cautious, and we’ll continue to be increasingly cautious. We’re super prayerful and we’re super hopeful that [we don’t get COVID-19]. These guys have worked really hard and sacrificed an awful lot, so we’re going to continue to be careful.”