BYU Battles San Diego State, Survives With Win

Nov 12, 2021, 9:35 PM

courtesy of BYU Photo...

Gideon George vs San Diego State, courtesy of BYU Photo

PROVO, Utah — BYU faced a tough challenge from San Diego State, surviving with a 66-60 win. The Cougars were led by senior Alex Barcello, who had 17 points and three assists. Freshman Fousseyni Traore added nine points, eight rebounds and two assists, continuing to play well early in his BYU career. BYU vs San Diego State was a battle throughout in a match-up of familiar foes.

Fans packed the stands to see BYU vs San Diego State, their old Mountain West foe. San Diego State was led by senior Nathan Mensah, who had 18 points and eight rebounds. It was a tightly-contested game throughout, the largest lead of the game at any points was just six points.

BYU Challenges The Aztecs In First Half

Mark Pope’s team has been able to frustrate their opponents with tough defense and contesting every shot. That was the case early in this game. BYU took several charges on the defensive end, forcing Aztec turnovers. In the first 10 minutes of the game, San Diego State shot just 31% from the field and 14% from three.

Freshman Atiki Ally Atiki saw his first action of the season in the first half. The big man from Tanzania used his size to his advantage on the defensive end, providing BYU with some crucial minutes. His roommate, Fousseyni Traore, continued to show well early in this season. He has great touch around the rim, adding seven points in the half.

The Cougars were able to frustrate the Aztec’s best weapon on offense, Matt Bradley. He was just 1-5 in the half, facing BYU’s toughest defenders. He also had two fouls in the half. Neither team shot well from deep, the Aztecs were just 2-11 while the Cougars made 3-9.

Despite the tough defense, San Diego State took the lead with under two minutes left in the half.  Alex Barcello and Te’Jon Lucas responded by hitting back-to-back threes to give BYU the lead before the half. Barcello led BYU’s offense in the half with nine points and three assists. BYU led San Diego State 32-30 at halftime.

BYU Survives Shooting Woes In Second Half

Defense again set the tone for BYU in the second half. Gavin Baxter had a big block early to get the crowd hyped. Baxter also scored the first six points of the half for the Cougars, in his best stretch of minutes in a long time.

It was a physical match for most of the second half. The Cougars and Aztecs traded blows and were tied up, 44-44, with under 10 minutes left in the game. Neither team had made a second half three to that point . Nathan Mensah was a problem for BYU. San Diego State took advantage of his size, giving him touches in the paint to much success. Mensah had 18 points in the game and 11 in the second half.

Down the stretch, BYU struggled to get buckets. The Cougars had an over four minute stretch without a field goal made. Free throws kept the points coming. They shot just 32% from the field and 11% from three, but made 13-15 free throws in the half.

With under four minutes to play and the game tied up 54-54, Alex Barcello hit a big three to put the Cougars ahead. BYU’s leader showed up when his team needed him most. Caleb Lohner came up with a huge offensive rebound and put back with under 90 seconds left. BYU escaped with a victory, 66-60.

BYU’s Next Opponent

The schedule does not get any easier for BYU. The Cougars take on #13 Oregon at the Phil Knight Classic in Portland next week. Tuesday’s game will take place at the Moda Center, home of the Portland Trailblazers, with a 8 p.m. (MDT) tip-off. You can listen to the game on KSL NewsRadio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.

Dallen Graff is a KSL Sports Contributor. He is the Producer of Cougar Sports Saturday (SUBSCRIBE) on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on Twitter.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

Big 12 Basketball, BYU Cougars, Trevin Knell...

Mitch Harper

Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings: BYU Rising, Big East Battle Begins

BYU is one of the biggest stories in college basketball after a 6-0 start.

1 day ago

BYU Football, Darrell Funk, Staff Changes...

Mitch Harper

BYU Football Moving On From Two Offensive Assistants

Changes are here for BYU football on the coaching staff.

1 day ago

BYU Basketball, AP Top 25, Jaxson Robinson...

Mitch Harper

BYU Soars Into AP Top 25 College Basketball Poll

BYU basketball is ranked for the first time since 2021.

1 day ago


Kyle Ireland

Instant Replay: Taysom Hill Makes Impressive Catch During Saints’ Week 12 Game

Former BYU QB Taysom Hill made an impressive reception during the Week 12 NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

2 days ago

Big 12 Power Rankings, Oklahoma State, Ollie Gordon, BYU Football...

Mitch Harper

Big 12 Power Rankings: End Of Regular Season Edition

The 14-team Big 12 wrapped up its one and only year on the gridiron together.

2 days ago

BYU Football, Jake Retzlaff, Quarterback, Oklahoma State...

Mitch Harper

Kalani Sitake Discussed Thought Process At QB During OSU Loss

Did BYU consider a change at quarterback during the loss to Oklahoma State?

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

BYU Battles San Diego State, Survives With Win