Cougars' hot shooting downs Aggies 82-71 at home Wednesday
PROVO, Utah - No. 24 BYU men’s basketball’s hot offensive start helped the Cougars down Utah State 82-71 at the Marriott Center on Wednesday evening.
Alex Barcello led the Cougars with 17 points on 4-of-12 shooting, 2-for-5 from behind the arc, two rebounds, four assists and two steals. Te'Jon Lucas had 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 2-for-5 from 3-point land as BYU won its 10th straight over the Aggies.
“I'm really pleased with the way we played today," Barcello said. "Definitely two really great wins after a tough loss last week. These guys have done a really great job stepping into roles they are not familiar with. ... Coach told us to step up our pace, and we practice that every day, and these guys have really bought into that. We just listen to coach and try to do the best we can while we are out there. Thankfully it worked for us tonight and we were able to hit shots.”
Trevin Knell had his season high in points with 13 on 5-of-6 shooting, 3-of-4 from the three, four rebounds, one assist and a steal. Fousseyni Traore put up a career-high 14 points on 3-of-4 from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
The Cougars' shooting was much improved from a week ago, as they stepped back on the Marriott Center floor shooting 50.0 percent from the floor, 45.8 percent from behind the arc and 86.4 percent from the charity stripe.
BYU also outrebounded the Aggies 31-26 and assisted on 19-of-26 field goals.
Brock Miller opened the scoring with a right-wing step-back three to give the Aggies the early lead followed by a Justin Bean bucket.
Th Cougars responded quickly to the Aggies hot start going 5-for-5 from the floor including a jump hook from Caleb Lohner, back-to-back left-wing threes from Barcello and Knell, two free-throws by Lucas and a floater in the lane from Knell to take a 12-6 lead three minutes in.
Seneca Knight picked up his second foul with 13:02 left in the first half sending him to the bench. On the next Cougar possession, Barcello drew Rylan Jones second foul forcing him to the bench early in the half.
Traore and Gideon George each got their first buckets of the game with 12 minutes left in the half. Knell hit his third three of the game to extend the Cougar lead to seven, 24-17.
With 8:11 left, Knell got a steal and threw a perfect outlet pass to Lucas who finished with the left hand for his first bucket and to give the Cougars their first double digit lead of the game.
After a Justin Bean jumper snapped the 12-0 BYU run, Knell hit another floater in the lane to up his total to 13 with 6:47 left.
Lucas countered the Steven Ashworth three with a five-point run of his own hitting a kick-out three and a pull-up jumper on back-to-back possessions.
Utah State came out of the under-4 timeout in a 2-3 zone. The Cougars took a possession to find their groove, but the ball moved more freely on the next possession leaving Hunter Erickson open for his first three of his collegiate career which he knocked down from the right wing.
The Aggies held for the last shot of the half, but the Cougars forced a turnover on Brock Miller to take a 45-33 lead into the break.
Lucas and Barcello hit back-to-back threes to start the second half for the Cougars but the Aggies responded with five straight from RJ Eytle-Rock and Justin Bean to cut the BYU lead to 10.
The Cougars struggled from the field early in the second half, not making a shot from the field until the 13:39 mark when Spencer Johnson hit his first three of the night followed by a jump-hook from Gideon George on the next BYU possession.
Traore checked into the game with 13:04 left and made an immediate impact with a strong post move for the score to stretch the lead to 17 for the Cougars. Johnson pushed the BYU lead 20 with a contested right wing three with 11:31 to play in the game.
Utah State scored four-straight baskets to cut the lead to 12 with 9:42 to play.
Lucas beat his man baseline and found a wide-open Knight for three to break the 2:44 scoreless streak for the Cougars.
The Cougars went 5:30 without a field goal and in that time, the Aggies went on an 8-point run to cut the Cougar lead to seven with 3:32 left.
Traore scored four straight points to give the Cougars some breathing room, but Brandon Horvath hit his fourth three of the game to cut the lead to 7 with 1:45 to go.
In the last minute and a half, Barcello scored a driving layup and knocked down two free throws to keep the Cougar lead at 9. The Aggies began playing the foul game, but the Cougars went 7-for-8 down the stretch to ice the game and win by 11.