First half struggles lead to BYU First Round exit in 73-62 loss to UCLA
INDIANAPOLIS — BYU men’s basketball (20-7, 10-3 WCC) was defeated by UCLA (19-9, 13-6 Pac-12), 73-62 in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
"Congratulations to UCLA. They played great today," said BYU head coach Mark Pope. "They have a really good team, Mick [Cronin] does an unbelievable job with those guys. They've had a great season. They caused us all kinds of problems, played terrific and got the win. I'm super proud of my guys. They're really special young men and a really special locker room."
Alex Barcello led BYU with 20 points on the night, going 9-for-17 from the field, with five rebounds and an assist. Brandon Averette finished the night with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting and had two assists.
Johnny Juzang came into the night averaging 14.5 points per game for UCLA but finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting. In the second half when BYU put an emphasis on Juzang, Jules Bernard stepped up, scoring 16 points and connecting on 6-of-13 attempts.
BYU ended the night hitting 49% of its field goals but only shot 18% from deep. In contrast, UCLA shot 48% from the floor and 42% from three. BYU committed 10 turnovers, including seven in the first half, while only forcing four turnovers on the defensive end. UCLA scored 11 points off those 10 turnovers and added a 13-7 second chance points advantage over the Cougars. Each team was only 9-for-16 from the free-throw line. BYU finished the game with a season-low five assists on 25 made baskets. The Cougars never led, trailing for 39 of the 40 minutes.
After 11 days off, it took the Cougars a while to get going offensively. BYU started slow, hitting just one field goal through the first 6:04 of the half. The Cougars were able to outrebound UCLA 19-13 and outscored the Bruins 16-8 in the paint, but UCLA hit 60% of its shots beyond the arc and took a 38-27 lead into the break. Juzang was responsible for half of his team’s points, scoring 19 on 8-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from deep. Barcello led the way for BYU with nine points. BYU only logged two assists on 11 made baskets while turning the ball over seven times. UCLA flipped those numbers, finishing the half with seven assists and just two turnovers.
BYU came out the of the half with an adjustment to place Connor Harding on Juzang, holding him to just two shot attempts through the first 11:11 of the half. A 10-0 BYU run ensued that cut a game-high14-point Bruin lead to just four, 43-39. UCLA began to attack the paint to stretch the lead back to 11. BYU’s shooting improved in the second half, but with just 3:44 left, 19 of the 25 second half points came from Barcello and Averette. Despite outshooting the Bruins by eight percent, BYU and UCLA each scored 35 points. In the final 20 minutes of play, BYU allowed 18 points in the paint, was outrebounded by two and hit just one three.
The Cougars end the season with an overall record of 20-7. With two seasons under head coach Mark Pope now in the books, the Cougars are 44-15.
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