New faces shine at Blue-White scrimmage
PROVO – BYU men’s basketball hosted the Blue vs. White Scrimmage on Friday evening at the Marriott Center, with BYU Blue taking home the victory, 68-62.
Te’Jon Lucas was one of four Cougars to reach double figures for BYU Blue as the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native had 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Gideon George had 14 points and six rebounds, with Atiki Ally Atiki and Trevin Knell chipping in 11 and 10 respectively.
Freshman Fousseyni Traore led all scorers, recording a double-double with a game-high 20 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Seneca Knight added 14 points, with Caleb Lohner pulling down nine rebounds to go with four points.
George scored the opening three points of the game for Blue before a Spencer Johnson 3-pointer got the white team on the board. The game was tied at 10-all at the 15:20 mark before White went on a 8-0 run over the next minute and a half. Knight started the run with a jumper with Nate Hansen hitting a 3-pointer on their next trip down the floor. Knight would connect from downtown following an offensive rebound from Traore to make it 18-10.
Traore continued to do it all in the first half with one of his two 3-pointers to make it 23-15 with under 12 minutes left. Trailing by six at the under 12 minute media timeout, 23-17, BYU Blue came to life scoring 13 of the next 17 points to retake the lead. Atiki’s dunk got the momentum rolling followed by four straight points from Knell. Trey Stewart corralled an offensive rebound on the their next trip down and found George for a 3-pointer to make it 26-25 for Blue. Following a Johnson layup for White, Stewart hit a jumper with Knell following that up with a layup to give Blue their biggest lead of the game, 30-27.
Traore single handedly kept White in the game, scoring seven straight points including a 3-pointer to make it 34-32 with 4:34 before the halftime whistle. There were four lead changes and six ties in the final four minutes with a Stewart free throw giving Blue a 43-41 lead at halftime.
Gavin Baxter and Lohner brought the fans to their feet early in the second half with a pair of dunks. Baxter scored the first points of the half for White a on a powerful two-handed dunk over George. Lohner followed that up with a two-handed dunk of his own at the 16:43 mark.
Richard Harward connected from 3-point range off a pick-and-roll with Knell to push Blue’s lead to six, 51-45. Their lead would reach double figures for the first time with 10:19 remaining in the contest on a hook shot from Harward. Casey Brown would make his presence known with four straight points on consecutive possessions as Blue extended its lead to 63-51 at 8:53.
Atiki would score the final basket of the game for Blue with a little more than five minutes remaining in regulation to make it a 12-point game, 65-53. White was unable to take advantage of Blue’s scoring drought as they fell by six, 68-62, following a dunk from Knight in the final seconds.
BYU will host Colorado Christian in an exhibition on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on BYUtv and broadcast on the BYU Sports Network and BYU Radio.
BYU Assistant Coach Chris Burgess
On Troare’s Game Performance
"Usually with bigs, freshmen or international guys, soccer dominates over there. You start basketball a little late. Fouss, having his dad as a basketball coach, he has a great feel. He has a great understanding for the game. He’s played one of the best high schools in the country the last few years and he’s been well coached. So, what he did tonight, we’re looking at him and like 'Oh man, he stuffed the stats sheet.' But what he’s done since he got here in the summer, he’s been doing a lot of stuff, rebounding the ball, beautiful touches around the rim, challenging and protecting the rim. I think he had two big time blocks that were called fouls, like he is a rim protector. He doesn’t do anything out of character. Him knocking down the two 3-pointers, that was a little surprising as he hasn’t done that in practice. Other than though, what he did out there tonight in terms of rebounding and finishing around the rim. He’s been doing that. He’s been comfortable out there. He does a great job. That was fun to watch, so hopefully he can build off that."
On Baxter’s Return to Action
"I know I can speak for all of us when we say, it was so fun to see him play those 10 minutes and to run up and down the floor, finish at the rim and talking. It’s just great to see him out there. He was able to get maybe two and a half of live play, and that was great. That’s a huge step for him. Not just physically, but mentally that he can do this. He’s been out two years. He’s at two and a half to three-minute spurts, for who knows how many reps. I think we subbed him for four rounds of just over two minutes. And we couldn’t be more happy with that. Today was a win for Gavin and his teammates for him to be out there on the court, in a jersey, running up and down on the court again. That was a win for him."
BYU Assistant Coach Nick Robinson
On George’s Confidence
"Gideon’s effort and energy has really improved consistently. Defensively, he’s been doing a great job of talking and executing what we’re asking of him. Offensively, he’s making the simple play."
On George Playing Different Positions
"Last year he was learning multiple different positions. Now, he’s had a full year and summer to kind of solidify his understanding of those positions. We’ve known that he can guard any position on the floor, and so offensively he’s feeling a little bit more comfortable and confident in what he’s been asked to do."
BYU Assistant Coach Cody Fueger
On the Starting Five
"It’s still up in the air a little bit. I think we have a couple we know for sure, but there’s a couple that we’re not for sure about. The good thing is, like Coach Burgess just said, we have a ton of depth and these guys are playing their hearts out in practice right now. They’re challenging each other at every moment. Practice has been unreal. The energy and effort we’re getting every day at practice has been awesome."
BYU Guard Te’Jon Lucas
On Traore Game Performance
"Fouss's production has always been good in practice. What you see out there, rebounding, setting good screens and scoring. He does a little bit of everything."
On Most Athletic Teammate
"Everybody on our team is athletic. It’s crazy. I think that’s what is going to help us out on defense, using our athleticism and on offense, getting up and down the floor."
On Getting the Season Started
"I’m itching, man, itching. We’ve been beating up on each other for the past four or five months. I’m ready to play somebody else. Now we can prepare for somebody else next week for our first exhibition game on Thursday."
BYU Forward Fousseyni Traore
On His Performance
"I didn’t do anything special. I just played my game. I just did whatever the coaches wanted me to do."
On playing at the Marriott Center
"It was special. This place is special."
On Alex Barcelo
"He’s a dominant player. He kills everyone. In practice nobody can stop him."
On Gideon George
"He’s like a big brother. He tells me what to do. He and Caleb have been helping me."