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BYU Basketball starts season with big win over Westminster

Strong shooting from everyone leads to massive win in season opener.

Virginia Tech v Brigham Young Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The 2020-21 BYU basketball season finally tipped off Wednesday night at the Marriott Center, with the Cougars beating Westminster College, 108-59.

BYU took a commanding lead early in the first half, and took a 54-31 lead into halftime. The Cougars shot 10-23 from 3 in the first half, and finished the night 18-39 for 46.2 percent. BYU hit the 100 point mark with 4:07 remaining in the game.

Matt Haarms was unavailable for the Cougars with a day-to-day ankle injury, but BYU had debuts from the rest of their transfers, including Wyatt Lowell. Lowell tore his labrum during the off-season (the same injury Gavin Baxter suffered before the 2019-20 season). Other transfers Brandon Averette, Gideon George, Spencer Johnson, Richard Harward all got minutes, as did Jesse Wade, who sat out last season due to ongoing knee issues.

Alex Barcello, who has been called the leader on the team by Mark Pope, was outstanding on the evening, leading the Cougars with a game-high 25 points in 22 minutes. With Barcello on the court, the game flow was much smoother for the Cougars. Barcello’s +/- on the night was a shared game high with Brandon Averette at 34. Averette was also impressive in his debut for the Cougars, scoring 15 points with 4 assists in 21 minutes. Both Barcello and Averette sat the last five minutes of the game.

BYU fans can expect a lot of size from BYU basketball this season. Coach Pope has talked about the new focus on offensive rebounding this season with the size that the Cougars boast. Based on tonight’s performance, BYU also looks to be another great shooting team. The Cougars 46.2 percent from three tops the season average for the 2019-20 season.

BYU will host New Orleans tomorrow at 7 p.m. MT at the Marriott Center. New Orleans was scheduled to play Utah this week but due to COVID issues at Utah, that game was canceled.