Big Run Propels BYU Over Long Beach State To Advance In NIT

Mar 16, 2022, 9:12 PM | Updated: 9:14 pm

Caleb Lohner - BYU Basketball...

Former BYU basketball forward Caleb Lohner is transferring to Baylor. Courtesy of BYU Photo

PROVO, Utah — BYU Basketball took care of business in the First Round of the NIT, defeating Long Beach State 93-72. A slow first half from the Cougars saw them trailing at halftime, but the team came alive in the second half to secure the double-digit win.

BYU was led by Caleb Lohner, who scored 20 points on an efficient night. Alex Barcello added 14 points and five assists, most of which came in the second half. Gideon George scored 16 points in just 15 minutes for the Cougars.

BYU will advance to the Second Round of the NIT and will face Northern Iowa, who defeated Saint Louis earlier tonight.

BYU Battles Long Beach State In First Half

Two early blocks from freshman Fousseyni Traore led to two easy transition layups from senior Te’Jon Lucas. The Cougars did most of their damage close to the basket, outscoring Long Beach State 28-12 in the paint and outrebounding them in the half, 22-17.

BYU took advantage of their superior size down low, attacking with the post up and getting matchups with the smaller Long Beach State guards. Caleb Lohner led BYU with nine points and four rebounds. Traore added eight points, four rebounds and three blocks.

Neither team shot well in the first half, with each team under 50% from the field and combining for 5-24 from deep. Long Beach State got the most out of their looks at the free throw line. They shot 17-19 (89%) from the line in the half. BYU had a sloppy first half, turning the ball over 10 times. Long Beach State scored 15 points off of those BYU turnovers.

The Cougars trailed 26-22 at the under-8 minute timeout. The offense picked up for both teams, but BYU couldn’t cut the deficit. Alex Barcello scored his only points of the half on a corner three in the final minute, but Long Beach State led BYU at halftime 46-41.

BYU Cruises In Second Half Against Long Beach State

The Cougars quickly took the lead in the second half, securing the lead on a Caleb Lohner three pointer. Long Beach State took the lead right back, setting the tone for a competitive half.

Spencer Johnson took a charge that riled up the crowd as the teams battled tied at 52. Alex Barcello proceeded to hit an open three to give BYU the lead yet again. The teams traded leads throughout the half.

BYU got the offense going in the second half as the Cougars finally saw the three point shot fall. As a team, BYU shot 8-18 (44%) from deep in the second half. Alex Barcello, building off the momentum of his late first half three-pointer, scored 11 in the second half for BYU. Gideon George added nine points in just six minutes of playing time.

The Cougars got the lead to double digits with under 10 minutes to play, as BYU led Long Beach State 68-57. Foul trouble plagued Long Beach State throughout the second half. An 21-0 run by the Cougars helped put the game out of reach in a blink.

The BYU defense improved in the second half as the Cougars held Long Beach State to just 19 points on 6-22 (27%) shooting. Long Beach State was also 0-8 from three in the second half.

BYU cruised down the stretch, increasing their lead to over 20 points in the closing minutes. BYU defeated Long Beach State, 93-72.

BYU’s Next Opponent

BYU advances to the Second Round of the NIT. The Cougars will face Northern Iowa at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah on Saturday March 19th. Tip-off time is 7 pm MT. As always, 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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Big Run Propels BYU Over Long Beach State To Advance In NIT