COUGAR TRACKS

Three Observations From BYU’s Resume Building Win Over San Diego State

Nov 12, 2021, 10:53 PM
BYU Basketball - Te'Jon Lucas...
Brigham Young Cougars guard Te'Jon Lucas (3) dribbles between San Diego State Aztecs forward Nathan Mensah (31) and San Diego State Aztecs guard Keith Dinwiddie Jr. (10) during a men’s basketball game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. BYU won 66-60. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball defeated San Diego State 66-60 in the Marriott Center in front of a crowd of 16,470. Here are the three takeaways from BYU’s big win to improve to 2-0 on the young season.

Alex Barcello continues to deliver clutch performances

The senior guard in the first half was BYU’s leading scorer with nine points on only five field goal attempts. After the first 20 minutes, it felt like Barcello wasn’t looking for his shot enough. Well, he picked his spots.

Even Mark Pope said in postgame he’d love to see more shots from his super senior leader.

In the second half, Barcello put up another five attempts, but they were big shots.

The highlight was coming out of the under-four timeout in the second half; Barcello jacked up a corner with SDSU senior Adam Seiko yanking his arm down in the process. Somehow there wasn’t a foul called, but even more surprising, Barcello knocked down the three.

It came on a night where BYU was shooting 18% from beyond the arc to that point of the game. Barcello, the AP Honorable Mention All-American from last season, showed that clutch gene that BYU will need this season if they hope to make a deep run in March.

BYU shut down Matt Bradley

San Diego State guard Matt Bradley is one of the most prolific scorers out west as he transferred from the Cal Beras. BYU basketball kept Bradley in check to only eight points, a big win for BYU’s defense.

Both Gideon George and Seneca Knight were tasked with the tall order of keeping Bradley in check. Mark Pope praised their defensive efforts.

What also helped the defensive success against Bradley was that he had two fouls in the first half but played 23 total minutes in the game.

Final five … maybe the best five?

BYU’s final lineup after the under-four-minute timeout. Mark Pope called on Alex Barcello, Te’Jon Lucas, Seneca Knight, Caleb Lohner, and Fouss Traore to close the game.

Three of those five players were not part of the BYU program a season ago, and if you add Caleb Lohner, it was his first authentic Marriott Center experience. They were the final five, but they might be the best five in the program right now.

Fouss Trayore has been a revelation at the four and five spots, not shy on the big stage. Then Te’Jon Lucas displayed brilliant passing abilities to find his open teammates.

The rotations have been solid through the first two games, but they found their closing lineup most importantly.

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.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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