BYU traveled to St Mary's on Thursday night and won a defensive battle with major tournament implications. For only the second time in program history, BYU left Moraga with a victory. Here is the good and the bad from BYU's 62-52 victory over St. Mary's:
- After trailing 5-0 in the first minutes of the game, BYU settled down and cut into the St. Mary's lead. Alex Barcello got into the lane in the early going for couple buckets to get BYU on the board.
- A nice dish from Brandon Averette set up a Trevin Knell corner three. Knell's three gave BYU an 11-9 lead in the early going. Of note, Knell got his first-career start for BYU on Thursday.
- BYU relied on the big guys down low offensively in the early going. BYU had a 15-12 lead thanks to a couple Haarms field goals. Lee and Harward also had one bucket a piece.
- After a scoreless first half, a nice reverse layup by Brandon Averette got Averette on the board. Averette would play a vital role on offense down the stretch - he finished with nine points on Thursday night.
- When BYU's offense was struggling to create open looks, Alex Barcello was able to manufacture baskets and keep BYU in the game.
- BYU was trailing 48-40 and St. Mary's had all the momentum when Matt Haarms grabbed an offensive rebound and finished a three-point play the old fashioned way. Haarms finished with nine points, four rebounds, and two blocks.
- Gideon George provided a spark off the bench when BYU desperately needed it in the second half. George brings a different level of athleticism when he is on the floor for BYU. George had eight points off the bench, but it was his defense that would change the game in the second half. More on that in a moment.
- A pair of Trevin Knell field goals gave BYU a 51-50 lead - it was the Cougars' first lead in the second half.
- Fantastic hustle by Kolby Lee gave BYU an extra possession on a loose ball with five minutes left to play. Plays like that from Lee were the difference in the second half.
- After his shot was blocked, Brandon Averette picked up the loose ball and hit a layup as the shot clock expired.
- Caleb Lohner made a difference on the boards against St. Mary's. Late in the second half, Lohner got an offensive rebound that turned into two free throws to give BYU a 57-70 lead.
- BYU held St. Mary's held scoreless for ten-straight minutes at the end of the game. Gideon George was the difference maker during that stretch. George started guarding Kuhse, who had been able to get into the lane all night using ball screens, and his length and athleticism completely stifled Kuhse. BYU ended the game on a 19-2 run with George as the primary defender on Kuhse.
- BYU got off to a slow start against St. Mary's and trailed 5-0. Slow starts have hurt BYU this season.
- BYU was trying to get down low in the early going. For the most part, it was working, but there were a few occasions where BYU needed to kick out to shooters. BYU only took two three-points shots taken through the first 13 minutes of play.
- In the first half, BYU had an offensive drought where they only scored four points in seven minutes.
- BYU went into the locker room down 29-25. Three-point shooting was the difference in the first half. BYU was 1/4 from deep, St. Mary's shot 5/14 from three.
- BYU started the second half better offensively, but defensively the Cougars struggled to get stops. Kuhse was using ball screens to get into the lane and create a lot of problems for BYU - this changed immediately when Gideon George entered the game.
- Through the first 28 minutes of play, BYU only made one shot from three. BYU was 1/6 from deep at the time, they finished 1/10 from three.