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3 keys in the BYU Cougars’ 72-63 win over the San Francisco Dons

Brigham Young Cougars center Richard Harward (42) pushes up a shot over Weber State Wildcats forward Michal Kozak (11) as BYU and Weber State play an NCAA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. BYU won 87-79.
FILE: Brigham Young Cougars center Richard Harward (42) pushes up a shot over Weber State Wildcats forward Michal Kozak (11) as BYU and Weber State play an NCAA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

BYU turned a one-time 10-point deficit into another solid road victory by rallying to beat San Francisco 72-63 at War Memorial Gym on Saturday.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

  • The Cougars (11-3, 2-1 West Coast Conference) trailed 47-44 with 8:04 to play — and had trailed by as many as eight earlier in the second half and 10 in the first half — but a momentum-changing run gave BYU the cushion for the win. The Cougars went on a 24-4 run over the next seven minutes to build a 68-51 lead, which included eight straight points from Richard Harward, 11 points from Alex Barcello and five from Matt Haarms. This came after BYU finished a win over Saint Mary’s two days earlier on a 19-2 run.
  • BYU held the Dons (9-7, 3-3 WCC) to 38.1% shooting in the game, while the Cougars shot 44.8% from the field — that included BYU shooting 51.7% in the second half. BYU also had a sizable advantage at the free-throw line — the Cougars made 15 of 18, San Francisco hit 2 of 3 — as Barcello led BYU with 19 points. Khalil Shabazz scored 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers in the loss.
  • The Cougars dominated in the paint, owning a 45-28 rebounding edge that led to a 40-18 advantage in points in the paint. Harward had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Gideon George added 12 points and Haarms put up nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.