Three Observations From BYU’s Win Over Utah
PROVO, Utah – The BYU Cougars avenged their overtime loss from last year beating the Utah Utes 82-64.
Alex Barcello and Matt Haarms were held to 12 points combined, but the supporting cast came through in a big way, led by Connor Harding who scored a team high 17 points.
— BYU Basketball (@BYUbasketball) December 13, 2020
The BYU bench out scored Utah 34-10. Spencer Johnson led BYU bench scorers with 16 points, 10 of which came in the second half.
Here are my three observations in honor of the first three point basket made in the Marriott Center by freshman Caleb Lohner.
1. Richard Harward low post scoring
It’s worth repeating, but losing Gavin Baxter was a big loss for BYU. Kolby Lee, Caleb Lohner, and Richard Harward are seeing increased time since Baxter’s injury.
Harward stepped up in a huge way for BYU playing in his first rivalry game. The Utes made a second half surge, but Harward collected several offensive rebounds to keep the Cougars in front.
This was easily his best game as a Cougar, possibly as a college basketball player, and it came at just the right moment.
He finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
What impressed me the most was his physical presence in the paint. He fought hard on the glass and was rewarded with multiple second chance buckets.
2. First Three Pointer for Lohner
Caleb Lohner hadn’t made a three point shot in the Marriott Center prior to the rivalry game.
That changed in the first half as Lohner drilled a corner three right in front of the Utah bench.
First three pointer for Caleb Lohner in the Marriott Center. That’s gotta feel good for freshman! #BYU
— Matthew Baiamonte (@baiamontematt) December 12, 2020
Lohner is a beast on the glass, but the Cougars need him to be a reliable scorer as well to take the pressure of Alex Barcello.
His willingness to play defense and crash the boards have become a source of energy for this team.
He got to the free throw line as well going 3 for 4. It won’t be long before he’s putting up consistent double double performances.
3. Bench scoring was massive
Richard Harward had his best game as BYU Cougar. Caleb Lohner ripped down 10 rebounds while scoring eight points. Spencer Johnson made critical three point shots in the second half.
One thing to watch going forward is how many minutes Spencer Johnson receives alongside Alex Barcello.
Brandon Averette was subbed out after two minutes in the second half for Johnson who played 16 minutes after the break.
Only Barcello played more second half minutes.
Johnson spent the early days of the pandemic working on a farm in Oregon and now he’s worked his way into the rotation for BYU.
There's a reason Mark Pope was recruiting Spencer Johnson out of high school, from Weber State, and then eventually out of SLCC. Smooth ball player. Valuable contributions on both ends of the floor today for #BYU. #BYUHoops @kslsports
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) December 13, 2020
It’s been a tough road for Johnson who’s playing on his fourth team in two years. He’s found a home in Provo.
Johnson shot the ball well making 4 of 8 from downtown. He seems like a more natural fit alongside Barcello.
Either way, expect Johnson’s minutes to remain steady going forward. He’s earned it.
This was a nice bounce back win for BYU after struggling to score against Boise State. The Cougars are dangerous when they get contributions from as many players as they did in the win against the Utes.
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