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BYU Basketball Rounding Into NCAA Form With Blowout Win Over LMU

BYU basketball forward/center Matt Haarms. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball is rounding into form as the NCAA Tournament approaches. The Cougars put together their best performance of the season with a dominant win over LMU in Los Angeles.

BYU cruised to a 88-71 victory over Loyola Marymount and never trailed in that game. It was a wire-to-wire victory for BYU.

BYU coach Mark Pope said earlier this week that teams who have NCAA Tournament aspirations make a leap this time of the year. Pope’s squad made a leap by sweeping this challenging WCC road trip and it started with the frontcourt.

Matt Haarms led the way for BYU with 21 points, five blocks, three assists, and two rebounds. Caleb Lohner scored 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action.

BYU improves to 17-5 overall on the season and 8-3 in West Coast Conference play. The win closes out the Cougars road schedule for the 2020-21 season. They’ll close out the regular season slate next week at home against San Francisco on Feb. 25 and Saint Mary’s on Feb. 27.

Here’s a breakdown of BYU’s win over LMU.

BYU Basketball cruises to victory in 2nd Half

BYU 88, LMU 71 (FINAL): Strange turn of events in the final minutes. LMU trimmed BYU’s 32-point lead in half down to 16. In large part because of and-one opportunities and fouls called. The string of whistles led Mark Pope to get after the officials where he was called for a technical foul.

The outcome was never in question for the game, but having 15 points shaved off a 32 point lead plays a role in advanced metrics rankings.

BYU 84, LMU 53 (3:36): Coming into today’s game, LMU was No. 1 in scoring defense in WCC games. BYU has completely gauged the Lions defense.

BYU’s Trevin Knell returned to action and buried a three-pointer. Matt Haarms got up to five blocks and leads the team in scoring with 19.

BYU 75, LMU 43 (7:55): This is another performance that is going to be kind to BYU in the advanced metrics. Dominating a Quad 2 (NET) opponent will serve BYU well in their NCAA Tournament resume.

Lohner had an impressive steal then ran down the court in transition to bury a three. It’s been all BYU against the Lions.

BYU 66, LMU 36 (11:26):  30-point lead. BYU’s frontcourt has been dominant. Matt Haarms has 18 points, 4 blocks, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and +28 in plus/minus. The only BYU player with a better plus/minus so far is Caleb Lohner at plus-35.

Lohner took a hard fall where he hit his head on the padding of the stanchion on the hoop. Moments later, Trevin Knell fell the floor nursing his eyes. He was helped off the floor by trainer Rob Ramos.

BYU 55, LMU 32 (15:35): The Lions scored a quick five points, but BYU was never threatened. BYU has scored on 61-percent of their possessions thus far.

Halftime Observations


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Everything was working for BYU Basketball in the 1st Half

BYU 47, LMU 25 (HALF): This might be the best half of basketball BYU has played this entire season.

BYU 45, LMU 21 (1:36): Defensively, BYU has put together three kills (three consecutive possessions with stops). LMU came into this game as one of the hottest teams in the league and BYU continued to get valuable contributions from the likes of Lohner and Trevin Knell.

LMU’s star player Eli Scott has been contained by Matt Haarms who has guarded him for a majority of the half.

BYU 37, LMU 17 (6:59): BYU got some of the LMU big men (Markussen and Leaupepe) in foul trouble. Each player has three fouls. For BYU, George is up to three fouls. It’s been a difficult road trip for him to stay on the floor and avoid foul trouble.

Brandon Averette showed off his quick-twitch abilities with a steal that led to a layup and a three pointer.

BYU 22, LMU 7 (11:49): It’s been a block party through the first eight minutes. BYU has four blocks on the Lions. It’s been one of the best starts of the season for this BYU team. LMU is facing foul trouble with six team fouls already.

BYU 13, LMU 2 (15:27): The hot shooting from freshman Caleb Lohner continues. Lohner opened the game with a three ball to put BYU out in front. The Cougars then jumped out to a 7-0 lead forcing LMU coach Stan Johnson to burn a timeout. Matt Haarms had three blocks in the opening minutes.

BYU/LMU Pregame

For the fourth consecutive game, BYU basketball is running with the same starting lineup. The lineup features Alex Barcello, Brandon Averette, Gideon George, Caleb Lohner, and Matt Haarms.

Last year, BYU set a program-record for most three-pointers in a game with 18 against LMU in Gersten Pavilion. The only negative to that game according to Mark Pope was the injury suffered to the heart and soul of BYU hoops, Dalton Nixon.

Today, LMU is greeting fans to Gersten Pavilion, virtually. The Lions are pushing to have a “Virtual Sellout” for their final home game of the season.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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