Alex Barcello shoots against Pepperdine. He had a career-high nine 3-pointers and 33 points against the Waves. (Preston Crawley/BYU Athletics)

Barcello leads BYU men’s basketball to 91-85 win over Pepperdine

BYU men’s basketball fought off the raging Waves of Pepperdine 91-85 at the Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, California Saturday.

Coming off of a gritty 83-82 overtime victory at Loyola Marymount, the Cougars came into Malibu with a determination to pick up momentum and win another tough road match.

Pepperdine certainly made it difficult for the Cougars early, leading by as many as seven and shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the field in the early minutes of the game.

Alex Barcello, the super senior superstar of BYU’s team, played absolutely lights out Saturday night. He helped keep the Cougars in it throughout the first half going 5-of-5 on 3-point attempts to help the Cougars take a 48-38 lead at the half.

Barcello scored a career-high 33 points, while shooting an incredible 9-of-10 from 3-point range and 10-of-12 overall from the field. Barcello said the coaches always expect him and the other players on the team to give it their all each game, which he felt they did tonight. In regards to how often he shoots, Barcello said he will continue to shoot if he is open.

Barcello admitted “it felt like the world was ending” during the team’s four-game losing streak, but said he knew adversity was something the team would have to overcome.

Like most of the teams BYU has faced so far in conference play, Pepperdine double-teamed Barcello every time he got the ball and tried to shut him down on offense, but to no avail.

“People may never see such a performance again,” head coach Mark Pope said of Barcello’s night.

Te’Jon Lucas helped Barcello late in the game by scoring 10 points to finish the off the victory.

The Cougars also had to play without star freshman center, Fouss Traore against the Waves due to a foot injury sustained from Thursday’s game against Loyola Marymount.

“I hope we can get him back, just so we can slide everybody into more comfortable spots,” Pope said of Traore. “We’ll see, we will find answers either way.”

Pope mentioned that he will continue to reinforce to the team that every game is like a postseason tournament game, knowing that their tournament status hinges on every game from here on out.

BYU looks to extend the winning streak to three games when it faces No. 22 Saint Mary’s in Moraga next Saturday at 9 p.m. MST.

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