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After getting ‘exposed’ by Creighton, BYU hoping to apply lessons learned

The Cougars don’t play again until they visit Weber State on Dec. 18

Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner (11) battles his way to the basket as BYU’s Caleb Lohner (33) defends.
Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner (11) battles his way to the basket as BYU’s Caleb Lohner (33) defends during a game at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
Matt Gade, for the Deseret News

No. 24 BYU fell 83-71 against Creighton on Saturday — and now it has a whole week before playing another game.

The Cougars are taking a bit of a break, in terms of games on the schedule, as players take final exams.

BYU visits Weber State next Saturday.

As far as coach Mark Pope is concerned, his team is learning important hoops lessons by playing a difficult nonconference schedule.

“I need to lead these guys better in terms of answering the physicality of the game. We just didn’t,” he said. “The season is a journey where you get to be educated. And we got a terrific education. We actually learned from it.”

Pope is looking to make the most of the time available before playing the Wildcats.

“It’s actually great timing because we have a full week to go to work and work really hard and to get better. You also have to sit on it for a week,” he told BYU Radio after the Creighton loss. “You’re grateful for the opportunity to play against good teams that come out and play really well because you want to get better. There will be a lot of late nights in the next week trying to see the ways we can get better. That’s a super enjoyable part of this season, is the idea of getting better. We will.”

Alex Barcello poured in 28 points against Creighton, and Seneca Knight added a season-high 13 points. As a team, the Cougars hit a season-high 12 3-pointers. And BYU sliced a 21-point second-half deficit to 10 in the second half.

Those were the bright spots.

Now the Cougars are going to try to learn from their mistakes and from different matchups.

“It’s why we play this schedule we’re playing right now. It’s a ridiculously difficult schedule. The reason you play it is to get exposed. Getting exposed is super painful. It’s awful. There’s nothing worse,” Pope said. “But at the end of the day, our goal is to become a great team by the end of the season. This is certainly going to be an important step for us because this is going to teach us a lot.”