PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Alex Barcello didn’t miss a shot in the morning shootaround, and he carried that mojo to the game Thursday night against San Francisco.
Barcello set a BYU record by making all seven of his three-point attempts, finishing with a career-high 29 points, as the Cougars held on for a 79-73 victory.
Barcello broke the previous school record of 6-for-6 set by Brock Zylstra and Nate Call.
Barcello also had five rebounds, three assists and zero turnovers.
“I have such a great group of guys around me,” said Barcello, who made 10 of 13 shots overall. “I really give credit to them because they found me for wide open catch and shoot 3’s. Guys were making the extra pass, being unselfish.”
“Every shot, he shot with more and more arc,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “He knew they were going in. He didn’t miss a shot the whole morning at shoot-around. He was shooting it higher and higher so it would take longer to get to the rim, so that all the fans could take it in. It was amazing!”
Caleb Lohner scored all 13 of his points in the first half to go along with nine rebounds, while Gideon George added 11 points.
BYU held USF to 38 percent shooting and only 16 points in the paint, while the Cougars shot 59 percent. The Dons only had three turnovers in the game, compared to 12 for BYU.
USF (10-12, 4-8) stayed close for the first 12 minutes of the game, as the teams had 13 lead changes during that span. BYU took over with 8:15 left in the half and held the lead for the remainder of the game.
BYU held USF’s second leading scorer, Khalil Shabazz, to a single point in the first half and most of the second, until the very end of the game, when he scored 11 points. Last year when the Dons and Cougars met in Provo, Shabazz had 16 points, and in his three career games against BYU, he averaged 26 points per game. San Francisco attempted to close in on the lead with 4:30 left in the second half with an 8-0 run. BYU kept the lead regardless, as Shabazz and Barcello exchanged threes.
In the second half, Gideon George scored nine points for the Cougars, compared to only two in the first 20 minutes. Four Cougars finished the night in double figures, including Barcello, Lohner, George, and Brandon Averette with 10. Averette also had a team-high five assists.
For the first time all season, fans were allowed into the Marriott Center, as some 1,750 fans watched the game in person.
“When I banged my first three, I shot an arrow up into the stands,” Barcello said. “It gave me a flashback of last year when we had Cougar Nation behind the hoop. The energy was amazing.”
Barcello will be honored on Senior Day on Saturday as BYU (18-5, 9-3 WCC) wraps up the regular season Saturday at home against Saint Mary’s.