PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Alex Barcello had 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Richard Harward scored 11 points and grabbed 10 boards, and BYU beat New Orleans 86-61 on Thursday night for its second straight victory to open the season
Barcello, a senior who scored a career-high 25 points in a season-opening win over D-II Westminster on Wednesday, made 8 of 12 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range against New Orleans. Kolby Lee and Connor Harding each scored 12 points and Brandon Averette added 11 points for BYU (2-0).
“I told the guys in the eight-minute media timeout that a lot of times what you’re competing against, actually, is frustration,” head coach Mark Pope said. “That’s actually your opponent, and I thought the guys did a really nice job just managing it. They just managed to kind of keep focused, kept locked in the best they could, and I’m super proud of them.”
Richard Harward added 11 points and 10 rebounds, as BYU dominated the boards, out-rebounding New Orleans, 54-28.
“I feel like we did pretty solid rebounding,” Harward said. “I don’t know the numbers right off the top of my head, but I felt like everyone was on the board. I know Caleb is an absolute monster. I’m so excited to have that guy on the squad, and just watching how he’s come in, and he’s able to contribute immediately. Kolby’s getting rebounds. I feel like we’re just such a threat, all the way around when it comes to the offensive, or even the defensive boards, because we have so many guys who are happy with athleticism and the ability to go and get the rebound.”
The Cougars used a 12-2 run to take the lead for good midway through the first half and Barcello hit back-to-back jumpers to make it 32-20 with 4:26 left before the break. The Privateers trailed by at least 11 points the rest of the way.
Damion Rosser and Lamont Berzat scored 15 points apiece for New Orleans (0-1).
BYU outscored New Orleans 26-5 in second-chance points and had 18 offensive rebounds to just six for New Orleans. It was the Cougars’ most offensive rebounds since the 2016-17 season.
The Cougars shot 52% (34 of 66) from the field and hit 10 3s but hit just 8 of 21 from the free-throw line. They are shooting 46% from the stripe this season.
“I think in games like this, you’ve got to play with a lot of force,” Harding said. “You’ve got to be physical back. In our offense, we want to get into the middle and then make plays. When they’re downing, or they’re playing aggressive, we’ve got to match that aggression and try to make plays for our teammates.”
Gavin Baxter, who played just seven games last season after suffering a torn labrum in September of 2019, left the game in the first half with an apparent knee injury and did not return. The 6-foot-9 forward finished with two points and two rebounds in 12 minutes.
“Obviously, the Gavin Baxter situation, we’re just super hopeful and prayerful, but it was just a mountain of frustration,” Pope said. “He’s going to go get imaging, and we’re going to see. We’re just really, really hopeful and praying that it is something that’s recoverable quickly.”
BYU next hosts Utah Valley on Saturday.