BYU Basketball Looks For Bounce Back Win Against Weber State
PROVO, Utah – A long week off was just what was needed for the Cougars. BYU fell flat against Creighton last Saturday as the losses of Richard Harward and Gavin Baxter loom bigger and bigger. Finals week brings with it a much needed reset as BYU rounds out the end of their non-conference schedule. Up next is a tough in-state foe in the Weber State Wildcats.
Weber State is a projected NCAA tournament team that has started their season 9-2. BYU enters this game 8-2, and 2-1 against in-state teams. Head Coach Mark Pope has spoken on the tough non-conference he and his staff have put together. The Cougars have been challenged to start this season and they can’t overlook another formidable foe.
BYU vs. Weber State
Tip: 6 p.m. (MT)
Location: Dee Events Center (Odgen, Utah)
Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)
Last Meeting: 2020: BYU 87, Weber State 79 at Vivint Arena
BYU Basketball Looks To Bounce Back Against Weber State
The Cougars struggled to compete in the paint early in the loss to Creighton last week. Although the team improved in the second half, it wasn’t enough to overcome a rough first 20 minutes. Since Gavin Baxter went down with a torn ACL early against Utah Valley, BYU has really struggled. They’re 2-2 with some gritty wins and tough losses.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) December 11, 2021
In place of Harward and Baxter, sophomore Caleb Lohner has moved into the five spot in the starting lineup. Lohner, already an elite rebounder, is undersized for most match-ups. The match-up should work in BYU’s favor on Saturday. Weber State experimented with a smaller lineup in their loss to Utah State on Wednesday. The Cougars would be thrilled to match small-ball lineups with the Wildcats.
BYU, who started the season attacking the paint and controlling the boards, have had to adjust with the injuries to their big men. The Cougars started the season as one of the nation’s worst three-point shooting teams. Outside of star Alex Barcello, the team struggled to shoot from deep. But in their last two games, BYU is 23-47 (48%) from three. They will need to continue to shoot well from three to maintain their early season success.
Senior Guards Lead The Way For BYU
Mark Pope on #BYU guard Alex Barcello: “Who in the country has done what he’s done in the first three games?”
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) November 17, 2021
Ultimately, BYU goes as Alex Barcello goes. As long as the senior guard is playing well, the Cougars will have a shot in any game. Barcello, who’s averaging 19.4 ppg and shooting 46% from three, carries the team on his shoulders and will be instrumental to getting off to a hot start against Weber State.
As will his running mate, fellow senior guard Te’Jon Lucas. Lucas has struggled shooting early this season, he’s averaging 11.3 ppg and shooting just 41% from the field and under 30% from three. However, Lucas has shown off his ability as a playmaker and the chemistry between the six-year senior and his new teammates continues to improve. Lucas will find a more consistent shooting stroke as the season progresses; BYU is relying on it.
BYU vs. Weber State Prediction
BYU has yet to lose back-to-back games in the Mark Pope era. It’s been an incredibly consistent run for Pope and his staff, in their third season at BYU. The Cougars were exposed in the loss to Creighton, but exposure opens the door for improvement.
I expect the Cougars to bounce back with a win against Weber State. Creighton was a tough match-up with their size and length. The Wildcats will likely play a smaller lineup, something that will help a banged up BYU team. The senior backcourt combines for 40 points and the Cougars hit 10+ three’s for the third-straight game.
BYU 81, Weber State 65
You can listen to the game on KSL NewsRadio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.
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