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BYU Basketball wins season opener over Cal State Fullerton behind defense, career night from Alex Barcello

NCAA Basketball: St. Mary’s at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

BYU Basketball opened the Mark Pope era with a win as they beat Cal State Fullerton 76-58 Tuesday night in the Marriott Center.

BYU held the Titans to 37% shooting from the field and went 8-15 from three point range in the first half to open up a comfortable margin.

Arizona transfer Alex Barcello had a great season debut, finishing with a career high 17 points to go along with 2 blocks and 3 steals. Barcello’s energy and passion set the tone for the team and helped overcome a slow first half from TJ Haws and Jake Toolson. TJ Haws came alive in the second half and added 17 points and Connor Harding chipped in 11 points and 8 boards to lead the Cougars. Zac Seljaas looked solid after breaking his foot during the team’s August Italy trip by finishing with 6 points and 8 rebounds.

Cal State Fullerton didn’t have the size to challenge BYU’s lack of length and post presence, but BYU will get a test Saturday when San Diego State comes to the Marriott Center. SDSU posts a big challenge with their size and length, so BYU will need to better nights from Jake Toolson and TJ Haws if they are to beat the Aztecs.

Saturday’s game is at 2pm MST in the Marriott Center on BYUtv.