Cougars take down Northern Iowa 90-71 behind 27 points from Gideon George
PROVO, Utah — A career-high 27 points from Gideon George led the Cougars to a 90-71 victory over Northern Iowa in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament on Saturday night at the Marriott Center.
George bested his career high in points and 3-pointers in the win. The senior went 10-for-15 from the floor, 5-of-9 from behind the arc and 2-for-3 from the line to total 27 points. He also grabbed six rebounds and an assist to round out his career night.
The Cougars shot 52.2 percent from the floor, 43.2 percent from deep and assisted on 22-of-36 make baskets. Over the last two games, the Cougars have tallied 50 assists on 72 made field goals.
"The 50 assists in two games is a big deal for us," said BYU head coach Mark Pope. "Part of it is that the opponents are heavy rotation teams and part of it is that Gideon George stepped on the floor and decided that he was going to make every shot on-balance."
Te'Jon Lucas scored 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting, dished out eight assists, grabbed three rebounds and a steal in the 19-point win.
George accounted for five of the Cougars first seven points with Fousseyni Traore going 1-for-3 from the field in the first four minutes. The Cougars and Panthers both got off to hot starts on the offensive end with Northern Iowa jumping out to a 15-7 lead 4:40 into the game. Down eight, the Cougars used their first timeout of the half.
Out of the timeout, Barcello found Caleb Lohner in the right corner who buried his first three of the game. After giving up two straight buckets to the Panthers, Barcello took it to the rim and finished through contact for the score. After a Lohner steal on the next possession, Barcello again found Lohner who made his second-straight triple to cut the lead to five with 12:40 left in the half.
At the under 12 media timeout the BYU trailed UNI 22-15, but the Cougars scored on two-straight possessions courtesy of a three and layup by George to cut the Panther lead to two with 10:41 left forcing UNI to call its first timeout of the half.
Out of the timeout, the Cougars got another defensive stop followed by Te’Jon Lucas slicing through the defense for a reverse layup that tied the game at 22-all. After a UNI bucket Lucas again found his way through the lane for a floater to again knot the game.
A Panther 3-pointer gave them a three-point lead but George hit his third triple of the night to square the game. George and Trevin Knell hit back-to-back triples to take the Cougars first lead of the night with 6:07.
With 4:00 left in the half, Barcello found Knell for a kick-out three to extend the BYU lead to six, 40-34.
After the under-4 timeout UNI hit a three to cut the BYU lead to three but the Cougars countered with two straight scores. Lohner hit a floater coming across the lane and Spencer Johnson hit a corner three to give the Cougars their largest lead of the night with 1:53 left in the half.
With less than a second left in the half, Johnson however was called a foul which gave the Panthers three free-throws which cut the Cougar lead to five at the break.
At the intermission the Cougars were 19-of-35 from the floor, 9-for-18 from behind the arc, assisted on 12-of-19 made baskets and grabbed four steals.
Lucas scored first for the Cougars in the second half on an up-and-under but UNI continued to shoot well from range hitting their eighth three of the game to cut the lead to two early in the second half.
After Barcello made a driving left-handed layup, the Panthers scored an easy two before Johnson hit his second three of the night.
On the next UNI possession, Lohner blocked a UNI shot off the backboard and the Cougars found George who got to the cup for two and the foul. He made the free throw to complete the and-1 opportunity to give the Cougars an eight-point lead.
A UNI bucket cut the lead to six before a Lucas jumper and a fast-break lob to Atiki Ally Atiki extended the lead to a then game-high 10 points.
George added to his career night with an end of the shot clock, step-through jumper to stretch the lead to 12. The Cougar defense held forcing a shot clock violation on the next UNI possession before Barcello hit a step-back three to add to the lead.
Lucas grabbed a long rebound off a Knell missed three and found his way to the rim to extend the lead to 17 with 10:47 left.
The Panthers scored back-to-back buckets to cut the lead to 13 with 9:16 to go before George hit his fifth and final triple of the game to tie his career high for made threes in a game.
UNI wouldn’t go away as they made their tenth three of the game to again cut the lead to 13 before calling timeout with 8:29 left.
Barcello blocked a shot and got the steal before Lucas found Knell for three. Neither team could find stops on defense as the Cougars and Panthers again traded baskets with the Cougars leading by 16 with 6:27 left.
The assist and three kept coming as Barcello found Knell on consecutive possessions for three from the left wing to give the Cougars a game-high 19-point lead with 4:37 to play.
The Cougars now await the winner between Washington State and SMU who will be played tomorrow at 1 PM MDT.