Alex Barcello shoots a free throw against Pacific. (Preston Crawley/BYU Basketball)

Late rally too little, too late for BYU in 76-73 loss at Pacific

A furious late rally wasn’t enough to save BYU men’s basketball from its worst loss of the season, falling 76-73 to Pacific Saturday in Stockton, California.

BYU was coming off a disappointing late-game collapse against Santa Clara on Thursday night and looked to bounce back with a win on the road against a Pacific team that had not won a game since Dec. 14.

The Cougars got off to yet another slow offensive start, trailing Pacific 33-28 at the half. The Cougars shot just 37% from the field in the first half including 27% from 3.

BYU was able to battle back to take a four-point lead midway through the second half but BYU’s offense went cold, allowing Pacific to retake the lead and extend it to as much as a 13-point advantage. 

Trailing by 13 with 2:10 to go, the Cougars turned up the intensity following a Trevin Knell three by getting back-to-back steals and layups by Gideon George and Te’Jon Lucas to cut the Pacific lead to just six.

Following multiple missed free throws by Pacific, Alex Barcello hit a three with 42 seconds left to cut the lead to two. Barcello was then able to get his hands on the ball and force a jump ball on the following play, giving BYU possession with a chance to tie or take the lead.

BYU’s offensive possession ended with Barcello slipping and being forced into another jump ball, giving possession right back to Pacific. 

After a BYU foul, Pacific’s Khaleb Wilson-Rouse went to the line with 12 seconds left and was able to knock down both free throws to extend the Pacific lead to four. Barcello wasn’t able to get a runner to go and after more Pacific free throws and a corner Barcello three, time ran out on BYU’s comeback attempt with a final score of 76-73.

The loss to Pacific marks the first time in the Mark Pope era that BYU has lost back-to-back games in the regular season.

“It was a really disappointing weekend,” Pope said. “How are you going to respond? That is always the question.”

The Cougars have to rebound quickly with two tough tests coming up next week as they host San Francisco on Thursday and Gonzaga next Saturday in the Marriott Center.

Barcello ended the game with 19 points to lead the way for the Cougars while Pacific’s Nicquel Blake led all scorers with a career-high 20 points.

BYU’s record now stands at 17-6 overall and 5-3 in West Coast Conference play.

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