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3 keys in the BYU Cougars’ 74-68 win over the St. John’s Red Storm

SHARE 3 keys in the BYU Cougars’ 74-68 win over the St. John’s Red Storm

BYU’s Alex Barcello, center, shoots over St. John’s Vince Cole, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Uncasville, Conn.

Jessica Hill, Associated Press

BYU earned itself a split at the Roman Legends Classic, beating St. John’s 74-68 on the second day of back-to-back games in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Wednesday.

The Cougars (4-1) rebounded from a 26-point loss to the Pac-12’s USC in their Legends Classic opener.

Here are three keys from the game: 

  • BYU never trailed in the second half, but the Cougars never led by double-digits until just over two minutes remained in the game. It was a good test for BYU, as it was able to make enough plays — and free throws — down the stretch, even as the Red Storm cut the deficit to as little as four in the final minute. Brandon Averette’s 3 with 2:14 to play put the Cougars up 70-60, and after St. John’s cut the lead to 70-66, Gideon George hit three free throws and Alex Barcello one in the final 40 seconds.

  • One day after struggling from 3-point range in a blowout loss to USC, the Cougars were better against St. John’s, shooting 10 of 27 (37%). The Red Storm, meanwhile, made just 4 of 21 3-pointers (19%).
  • In a game where St. John’s had the edge in several statistical categories, BYU had a significant edge in bench points (24-14), led by 13 from George and 11 from Trevin Knell. The Cougars also shot 55.6% from the field in the second half — after shooting just 36.3% before halftime — and were led by Barcello’s 20 points (on 8 of 11 shooting), five assists and three rebounds.