BYU Cruises Past Loyola Marymount In WCC Tournament

Mar 4, 2022, 9:04 PM | Updated: 9:04 pm
Courtesy of BYU Photo

LAS VEGAS — BYU Basketball kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, blowing past Loyola Marymount in the Second Round of the West Coast Conference Tournament, 85-60. The Cougars led early and never looked back against the Lions. It was the type of performance Mark Pope wants to see from his squad as they enter the most important part of their season.

Alex Barcello led the team with 22 points on an efficient night for the fifth-year senior. Fousseyni Traore added 15 points and 11 rebounds for his 8th double-double of the season. The Cougars dominated the paint, outrebounding the Lions 44-25 and outscoring them in the paint 48-30.

#5 seed BYU advances to the Quarterfinals to face #4 San Francisco on Saturday night. The third matchup with the Dons will give BYU another chance at a Quad 1 win and, potentially, the opportunity to secure their NCAA Tournament berth.

BYU Jumps Ahead Early In First Half

The Cougars started off hot, leading LMU early 14-6. They consistently attacked the paint, getting easy looks at the basket. BYU scored 26 of their 43 first-half points in the paint.

Alex Barcello, who made his 90th consecutive start for the Cougars, had a big half to lead the team. The 1st-team all-WCC selection had a team-high 12 points with two three-pointers and two assists.

Fousseyni Traore, in his first appearance in the West Coast Conference Tournament, was great in the half. Traore added 10 points and pulled in six rebounds.

BYU’s defense helped them extend their first half lead to double digits. Eli Scott accounted for 15 of the 28 points for the LMU, but the rest of the team shot a combined 33% from the field and just 1-7 from deep. The Cougars forced seven turnovers and took advantage, scoring 14 points off those turnovers.

BYU never trailed in the first half as they continued to extend their lead before halftime. The Cougars led LMU at the half, 43-28.

BYU Pulls Away From Loyola Marymount In Second Half

BYU quickly increased the lead to start the half, forcing an early timeout by LMU. The Cougars extended the lead to over 2o points and didn’t look back. Foul trouble for BYU in the half kept the Lions hanging around, but they couldn’t close the gap.

Alex Barcello continued to dominate throughout the second half. Barcello got to the free throw line and took advantage, scoring 10 points in the half and shooting 6-6 from the charity stripe. Trevin Knell added 10 points off the bench for BYU.

Mark Pope took most of his starters out with 3:37 left in the game as BYU had a commanding 19-point lead. The Cougars cruised throughout the second half as they continued to attack the rim and play great team defense. LMU shot just 11-26 (42%) in the final 20 minutes.

BYU defeated LMU, 85-60, to advance to the Quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament.

BYU’s Next Opponent

BYU (22-9) advances to the Quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference Basketball Tournament. The Cougars will face San Francisco (23-8) on Saturday night. The game will tip-off at 8:30 pm (MT) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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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