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BYU Basketball Drops Third Straight, Loses to San Francisco

Feb 3, 2022, 10:27 PM

BYU San Francisco 02/03/22...

Courtesy of BYU Photo

PROVO, Utah — BYU’s rough stretch continues as they fall to San Francisco at home, 73-59. It’s the third-straight loss for Mark Pope’s squad, who are reeling in the midst of West Coast Conference play. The Cougars got down big and couldn’t recover against the Dons.

Alex Barcello led BYU in scoring with 25 points. He was, in large part, the only offense going tonight for the Cougs. Freshman big man Atiki Ally Atiki had a career night, scoring 10 points and adding four rebounds and four blocks. Ally Atiki continues to improve game-by-game and is filling a big role of the bench for BYU.

BYU needs to find a way to turn things around. It doesn’t get any easier for the Cougars as they get #2 Gonzaga at the Marriott Center on Saturday night.

BYU Struggles In First Half Against San Francisco

Head Coach Mark Pope made an adjustment to his starting five, electing to put Gideon George in the lineup instead of Caleb Lohner. Perhaps the new lineup sparked the hot start for the Cougars. BYU jumped out to a 12-4 lead early.

Alex Barcello had the hot hand to start the game, making the first three shots for the Cougars. He led the team in the first half with 14 points, shooting 2-4 from deep. The only other Cougar with multiple makes in the half was Atiki Ally Atiki. The talented freshman had four points, three rebounds and three big blocks.

The Cougars brought the intensity on the defensive end. They pressured the ball handler early in the shot clock and battled on the boards. BYU couldn’t take advantage of the easy opportunity for points. They were 5-13 from the free throw line in the first half.

The Cougars struggled on the boards as well. Typically an excellent rebounding team, they were outrebounded by San Francisco 24-18 in the half. The shots stopped falling for BYU down the stretch as they struggled to create offense. They shot just 36% from the field in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Dons heated up thanks to their talented backcourt of Khalil Shabazz and Jamaree Bouyea. The duo combined for 22 points in the first half, helping San Francisco secure the lead at half. San Francisco led BYU at halftime, 40-25.

BYU Can’t Overcome San Francisco’s Second Half Lead 

San Francisco quickly extended the lead to over 20 points, coming out of the half on a 6-0 run. As the teams battled throughout the half, it quickly looked like BYU was simply outmatched tonight.

But the team did not stop fighting. The Cougars clawed their way back into the game thanks to tough defense and offensive at the rim. Alex Barcello had 11 points in the second half while Seneca Knight added 10 points off the bench.

After heating up from deep late in the first half, San Francisco couldn’t keep up the shots from three. The Dons didn’t make a single three in the second half, shooting 0-9 from deep.

After trailing by as many as 21 points, BYU cut the lead to just single-digits with 6:36 left in the game. The San Francisco backcourt didn’t have the same success in the second half. Bouyea and Shabazz combined for just six points down the stretch, helping the Cougars overcome their big deficit.

But the Cougars couldn’t close out the comeback. After a lengthy delay that saw technical fouls called on both teams, San Francisco went on a 7-1 run. That all but sealed the game. BYU faltered down the stretch, losing to San Francisco 73-59.

BYU’s Next Opponent

BYU (17-7) gets another shot at the top team in the West Coast Conference when #2 Gonzaga (18-2) comes into town on Saturday night. They’ll tip-off at 8:00 p.m. (MDT) at the Marriott Center in Provo, UT. 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.

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BYU Basketball Drops Third Straight, Loses to San Francisco