‘Get me the ball’: Barcello feeds Traore to push BYU basketball to 16-point win in home finale


Brigham Younger Cougars guard Alex Barcello (13) goes to the ring forward of Pepperdine Waves guard Mike Mitchell Jr. (1) in the course of the recreation on the Marriott Heart in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: 4-5 minutes

PROVO — Halfway by means of the second half of BYU basketball’s house finale towards Pepperdine, Alex Barcello stepped by means of a depraved crossover dribble, stepped again, drained a 3-pointer and tapped his wrist.

Fousseyni Traore acquired the message.

Traore poured in 25 factors, 19 rebounds and three assists en path to the seventh double-double of his profession and BYU basketball wrapped up the common season with a 75-59 win over Pepperdine in entrance of a near-sellout crowd Saturday night time within the Marriott Heart.

Barcello added 10 factors, eight rebounds and three assists, and Te’Jon Lucas had 15 factors and 4 assists on senior night time for the Cougars (21-9, 9-6 WCC), who additionally honored injured large males Gavin Baxter and Richard Harward earlier than tipoff.

However on one explicit play, Traore — like every good freshman would to a senior chief — was simply following orders.

“I used to be so hyped,” he stated with amusing. “He (Barcello) simply wanted to relax somewhat bit, proper?”

That is when head coach Mark Pope jumped in, with a joke which may as nicely have been fully correct.

“When AB did that,” Pope stated, tapping his wrist, “Fouss turned to AB, and stated, ‘if you wish to put this factor away, get me the ball. Each. Single. Time.'”

Level taken for the 6-foot-6, 254-pound freshman from Bamako, Mali, the previous Wasatch Academy standout whose freshman yr has seen a gentle rise since he grew to become the highest submit participant on a group lacking its two prime bigs in Baxter and Harward. However when Traore goes off, good issues occur for BYU, which improved to 6-1 on the yr when he information a double-double.

Traore has scored in double figures in three of the previous 4 video games, paralleling an increase that has seen BYU proper itself after a four-game skid that propelled the Cougars to the sting of the NCAA Match bubble.

With 4 wins within the final 5 video games — the one loss, a 69-64 setback at Saint Mary’s, when Traore struggled to 4 factors and 5 rebounds whereas enjoying by means of a groin damage — the Cougars have (seemingly, presumably, perhaps) righted the ship.

“25 and 19? That’s absurd,” stated Lucas, who celebrated his second senior night time however first with followers and a crowd that included his mom, sister and grandmother in attendance. “And for a freshman to get that, 9-of-10 taking pictures. Seven-of-nine free throws. That’s absurd.”

Gideon George provided 11 factors in BYU’s regular-season finale, and Trevin Knell had 8 factors and 4 assists for the Cougars.

Houston Mallette scored 23 factors to guide Pepperdine (7-24, 1-15 WCC) and fellow freshman Mike Mitchell Jr. provided 18 factors, eight rebounds and 4 assists for the shorthanded Waves, who solely performed seven gamers.

However on Barcello’s second celebrated senior night time in a BYU uniform, the Chandler, Arizona, product wished to finish the common season in model.

Pepperdine Waves guard Majok Deng (22) goes to the hoop around Brigham Young Cougars forward Fousseyni Traore (45) during the game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
Pepperdine Waves guard Majok Deng (22) goes to the ring round Brigham Younger Cougars ahead Fousseyni Traore (45) in the course of the recreation on the Marriott Heart in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. (Picture: Spenser Heaps, Deseret Information)

Knell capped a 7-0 run over simply 57 seconds that pushed BYU to a 20-13 lead halfway by means of the primary half. However the Waves shot 48% from the sphere to BYU’s 45% to creep inside three, 36-33 at halftime.

The Cougars outrebounded Pepperdine 21-15 and scored 8 factors off 5 turnovers earlier than the break however could not draw back from a gaggle of Waves guards that acquired something they wished — together with 13 factors from Mitchell.

It did not take lengthy for Barcello to take over, although. The Arizona switch discovered Atiki Ally Atiki for a hammer dunk halfway by means of the second half. On the following possession, Barcello completed off his crossover with a stepback 3-pointer that pushed the Cougars’ result in 49-40, highlighting an 11-3 spurt that pushed the Cougars’ lead as excessive as 55-43 with 7:27 remaining to assist seal the win for good.

“That stepback, that is Alex; that is what he does,” Lucas stated. “I simply wished to go over there and have enjoyable with him, however that is OK. We talked about it within the locker room later, how he was wobbling or one thing.

“However that is Alex Barcello; I do not anticipate nothing much less.”

Moments later, Lucas discovered Caleb Lohner for a transition dunk that introduced the home down and gave the Cougars a 61-46 lead they might by no means relinquish, holding the Waves to 27% taking pictures within the second half.

However again to Traore, who set a BYU freshman file with 19 rebounds — together with 14 defensive boards. The West Africa product tied Mark Helpful for the second-most double-doubles in a freshman season in BYU historical past, and likewise knocked down his thirty fifth block of the season — the fourth-most all-time by a BYU freshman.

“I have been saying all yr: he does not know the way good he’s. This faculty, the coaches are fortunate to have a man like Fouss, who’s so prepared to be taught and has a lot uncooked expertise. However whenever you put that collectively along with his laborious work, work ethic, and also you see him within the gymnasium at 8 o’ clock each day, then to the examine corridor for 5 hours a day. It is superior.”

The win, mixed with wins by San Francisco and Santa Clara, locks BYU into the No. 5 seed within the West Coast Convention Match — the Cougars’ highest seed since becoming a member of the league in 2011. The Cougars will open the tourney subsequent Friday, March 4 on the Orleans Enviornment in Las Vegas.

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