PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – A wild sequence at the end of the first half helped BYU kick it in gear in the second half, as the Cougars blew past Pacific in its West Coast Conference opener Thursday night at the Marriott Center, 73-51.
Alex Barcello hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left in the first half to give BYU a 33-31 lead. Spencer Johnson then stole the inbounds pass and scored a basket at the buzzer, as the Cougars took a 4-point halftime lead.
BYU came out on fire in the second half, making eight three-pointers, outscoring the Tigers by 18 points in the second half to pull away for the victory.
Barcello became the 52nd player in BYU history to join the 1,000-point club.
“We have a great, great team of great players,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “But it’s such a luxury to have a veteran guy like Alex who you don’t have to actually draw anything up for. We just ask him to get the ball and score for us, and he does that consistently. It’s fun for all of us to watch.”
Five Cougars scored in double figures, led by Barcello with 15 points. Fousseyni Traore had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Trevin Knell and Seneca Knight each added 11, while Te’Jon Lucas poured in 10 points.
BYU was 12 of 25 from three-point range, and made 49 percent of its shots from the field, while holding Pacific to just 31 percent shooting. The Cougars limited Pacific to a season-low 20 points after halftime.
“We did a really good job busting through heavy defenses and just coming off them willing to create plays for our guys, getting open shots, getting passes to the corner, extra passes for wide-open threes,” Barcello said. “So I was really, really happy with how we played tonight.”
The Cougars out-rebounded the Tigers, 44-27.
The Cougars (13-3, 1-0 WCC) next host St. Mary’s Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.