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Three Observations From BYU Basketball’s Season-Opening Win Over Westminster

Courtesy of BYU Photo

PROVO, Utah – Led by newly extended Head Coach Mark Pope, the BYU Cougars basketball team started off the 2020 season with a win over Westminster 108-59.

It was weird being back in the Marriott Center with no fans. The last time we saw BYU hoops in this arena was back on February 22, 2020, when they upset No. 2 Gonzaga.

I’ll always believe that team was destined to make a deep run in the tournament.

Tonight’s matchup was memorable as well, but for very different reasons. Hopefully, fans will be welcomed back to Marriott Center before seasons end, because it’s not the same without Cougar nation.

Here are my three observations from the Cougars season opening win.

1. BYU Basketball: Three-Point Shooting Clinic

One of the reasons BYU basketball was so successful in the first year of the Mark Pope era was sharpshooting from the beyond the arc. The Cougars made 42 percent of their long distance attempts, best in the country, and the only team above 40 percent.

The Cougars started the game making seven of their first 13 attempts. Coach Pope praised the teams ability to shoot the ball during training camp and that was on full display in the home opener.

BYU finished the game making 18 three pointers. They tied the school record set by last year’s team against Loyola Marymount University.

10 players made a three point shot. That’s more impressive than the 18 made three pointers. There are plenty of scoring options on this team.

If they can shoot like this all season long, coupled with their depth and length defensively, watch out ladies and gentlemen.

2. Kolby Lee, the forgotten man

At times last season, Kolby Lee was the only available big man while Yoeli Childs served a questionable suspension.

Heading into the 2020 campaign, there was plenty of chatter regarding the arrival of big man Matt Haarms, the eligibility of Richard Harward, and the health of Gavin Baxter.

I don’t recall hearing much about Kolby Lee.

After one game, it’s clear that Lee will be a part of the rotation. The “quickie” monster only scored five points but he dished out seven assists. He’s arguably the teams best passing big man. What a wealth of options for Coach Pope in the post.

3. Alex Barcello getting buckets

It’s became a well told story that Coach Pope didn’t draw up any plays last season for Alex Barcello.

BYU had three potent scorers a year go in Yoeli Childs, Jake Toolson, and T.J. Haws. It makes sense why Barcello saw limited offensive opportunities.

That won’t be the case this season.

Alex Barcello scored a career high 25 points. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drop 30 points in a game this year.

He shot over 48 percent from downtown as a junior and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. He was three for five from deep and 10 for 14 overall.

I know it’s only one game, but this was an impressive start for the revamped Cougar basketball team.

You can hear Matt Baiamonte every Saturday on KSL Newsradio for Cougar Sports Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or you can find him on Twitter here.

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