BYU Basketball Shows Off Deep, Revamped Roster In Blowout Of Westminster
PROVO, Utah – Fresh off a new contract extension, year two for BYU basketball under Mark Pope picked up where it left off back in March, hot shooting from beyond the arc.
BYU knocked down a program-record 18 three-pointers in its win over Division II foe Westminster as the Cougars rolled to a 108-59 victory.
What was different from the onslaught on three-pointers was all the new faces. A total of 10 players knocked down three’s in the Thanksgiving Eve tilt in front of friends and family of BYU basketball personnel at the Marriott Center.
Seven of the ten players who hit three’s in BYU’s season-opening win didn’t play in any games last season. None of those seven players included Purdue transfer Matt Haarms who was out with an ankle injury.
After losing six seniors from last year’s team that finished 24-8 and No. 18 in the AP Poll, Mark Pope revamped his roster with heralded transfers and talented newcomers to pair up with seasoned returners in Alex Barcello (career-high 25 points), Connor Harding, Kolby Lee, and Gavin Baxter.
That combination of depth and talent was on full display as BYU overwhelmed an outmanned Griffins squad.
Depth is an interesting thing for BYU Basketball
“Depth is an interesting thing for us. We are a rep it out, team. We are good at what we do because we rep it out over, over, and over again in live play,” said Mark Pope. “We try and teach guys how to play; we don’t teach guys plays. There’s a big difference. Teaching guys how to play is much more complicated.
“So one of the interesting things we’ve had with this expanded roster, with more bodies, is the guys don’t get as many reps. Because we’re still coaching a lot of guys. Usually, by this time of the season, you’ve kind of stopped, and you’re only coaching eight guys. I’m still coaching 12. So it’s a beautiful problem to have for sure.”
Newcomers Brandon Averette, a starter on the guard line, scored 15 points, smooth JUCO transfer Spencer Johnson dropped 10, and Caleb Lohner scored five, highlighted by a thunderous dunk. Sorting out the rotation will be something that takes time for Pope and his staff.
“One of the reasons we’re a little bit behind we do what we do is because we’re putting in more time, and we’re getting less reps per guy because we have so many guys that are capable,” Pope said. “There’s going to be a real maturation process with this team that might take longer than normal. We’re gonna have to work through games and try and figure out some things on the fly, just because of that. I’m really grateful to have that problem. I’m super grateful to have that.”
BYU is now 1-0 on the 2020-21 season and will return to action Thanksgiving night against the New Orleans Privateers at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.
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