Austin Rustand | Posted: 8 Jan 2022 | Updated: 8 Jan 2022

BYU-Saint Mary's Notes and Quotes

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Team Huddle Saint Mary's 2022

The following notes are from BYU's 52-43 win over St. Mary’s on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Marriott Center.

ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS: BYU leads [18-16]

TEAM NOTES

First Half

With 16:48 left in the first half, BYU found itself down 7-0, having missed their first six shots. After going on a 9-0 run, the Cougars were able to pull ahead to take the lead for the first time in the half.   Both BYU and Saint Mary’s went scoreless from 11:15 until Te’Jon Lucas scored on two straight possessions to extend the Cougar lead to six, 13-7.  The Gaels stopped the BYU run with two straight scores of their own before Seneca Knight’s 3-point play gave the Cougars a 22-16 lead. The Cougars ended the half on a 9-0 run which stretched the BYU lead to 12 going into the half. This marks the first time since February 27, 2021 that St. Mary’s has been held to under 20 points in the first half. That game ended in a 65-51 road loss to BYU.

Second Half

BYU and Saint Mary’s each got off to hot starts offensively, trading baskets throughout the first four minutes of the half but BYU held onto their 12-point halftime lead. The Cougars defense continued to gold strong and maintain the lead until Tommy Kuhse hit a corner three to cut the lead to nine with 8:28 to play. With the Cougar lead being cut to seven with 5:06 to go, Trevin knell hit a contested jumper to give the Cougars slime extra breathing room. The Cougar defense came up big, holding the Gaels to 1-of-11 shooting over the last 5:06 to win 52-43.

Points in the Paint

Despite often scoring a large sum of points from behind the arc, the Cougars recorded 34 of their 52 points in the paint in contrast to only 26 paint points 

Defense

The Cougar defense forced 19 turnovers which turned into nine BYU points. Lucas, George and Johnson each tallied two steals while Barcello and Traore each added a steal each. Knight, Traore and Lohner each recorded one block as Ally Atiki sent away a career high three shots in the win. BYU held Saint Mary’s to 29.3 percent shooting, 17.4 percent from behind the arc and only 43 points, their lowest of the season.

Rebounding

BYU finished the game with 36 rebounds, 10 on offense and 20 on defense. The 10 BYU offensive rebounds resulted in eight second-chance points. Traore led the Cougars in rebounds with 11 while Barcello grabbed eight.  

PLAYER NOTES

Alex Barcello

  • 8 Points
  • 8 Rebounds 
  • 4 Assists
  • 1 Steal 

Te’Jon Lucas

  • 10 Points 
  • 3 Rebounds 
  • 2 Steals

Trevin Knell

  • 9 Points
  • 4-of-5 FG
  • 1-of-1 3FG

Fousseyni Traore

  • 9 Points
  • 11 Rebounds
  • 1 Block
  • 1 Steal

Notable career highs/career firsts

Atiki Ali Atiki 

  • Career high three blocks

COACH AND PLAYER QUOTES

Opening Statement by Te’Jon Lucas

“First off, I just want to give St. Mary’s credit for the whole 40 minutes and they fought hard. Once we finally settled in, we were able to run our offense, but they were a tough, physical team and I am glad we came and fought with adversity and came out with the win.” 

Coach Mark Pope on Defense

“I am really proud of our guys tonight. I thought we were near-flawless defensively, with a few exceptions. I thought Alex Barcello was tremendous on the defensive end tonight in terms of making reads and covering gaps. I thought Te’Jon Lucas did great because he is such a high-IQ defensive player and I thought he was fantastic. I thought Seneca Knight was really solid and was terrific on defense. I thought Atiki was terrific tonight and I am super proud of him. He’s a young man who has been through a lot and hasn’t had a ton of time, but for the biggest game of our season so far, we knew we needed him tonight. Couldn’t be more proud of our guys.” 

Coach Pope on going down 7-0 in the first minutes of the game

“Our team is full of guys who are masters of absorbing frustration. Where frustration turns most teams and most people sideways, my team absorbs it. They understand that this is not a game of perfection, but a game of perfect effort.” 

Coach Pope on Cougar Nation

I never do this because I don’t hear anything during the game, but I have been forcing myself the last few games to just take a second, a moment in the game to appreciate what’s happening in this building, what these guys and Cougars Nation are helping to make happen in this building. I’m so happy for Saint Mary’s to have the opportunity to come into this building and experience the highest, most perfect, wonderful college basketball atmosphere in the country with 17,500 people. Every young person dreams about that and what happens in this building is incredible and is a massive gift to us.

Lucas on generating offense without relying on the 3-pointers

“I think we’ve shown in the beginning of the year that without our shot falling, we still have a chance to win. Some teams live and die by the three, but our team just finds other ways to win out there. I’m not concerned about 1-of-13 from the three because as long as we keep taking great shots, they will eventually start falling for us. We just need to keep owning our shots because sometimes we will miss and sometimes they’ll go in, so I’m just glad we got the win.”

Lucas on Atiki Ally Atiki’s progression

iIt’s night and day. i am so proud of him. He played almost 15 minutes tonight and he was out there playing with force, calling out screens, blocking shots, making jump hooks and we’re just seeing the beginning of all he can become. I’m super proud of him, he’s been working really hard in practice and now he gets to come out in the game and show it. Triple-A, you always can rely on him.
Lucas on Marriot Center crowd

Man, it is amazing. Playing in front of this crowd gives us extra energy out there. We can’t thank Cougar Nation enough, the ROC, all the fans that traveled here from out-of-state, in-state. I don’t think there is any school in the country that is getting 17,000 plus fans in their conference games. We’re blessed to have those fans and we can’t thank them enough for coming out and supporting us.