BYU Basketball fell to USC 79-53 in their opener of the Roman Legends Classic at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
Both teams traded makes early in the half before USC went on a 11-2 run to lead the Cougars 15-9. BYU responded with a 7-0 and took a one point lead at 16-15. The Cougars struggled from that point and shot poorly the rest of the first half. BYU went 9-37 from the field and just 2-16 from three in the half. BYU ended the half with just one field goal on nineteen attempts and did not score in the last 4:49 of the half. USC had 27 first half rebounds to BYU’s 20. USC led 31-20 at half, and BYU’s 20 first half points is the lowest since their 2019 loss at Boise State.
Barcello finally got a three and ended BYU’s drought to cut the lead to 33-23, but the Trojans would extend to a 17-point lead at 42-25. After a timeout, USC would extend the lead more, going up 24 to make the score 49-25. The Trojans extended their lead to as much as 27 before a Barcello three cut it back to 24. BYU was unable to chip away at the USC lead in significant amounts and never got within 20 through the rest of the half. USC would even extend the lead to 30 at several points in the second half.
The takeaway from this game will be BYU’s poor shooting, as the Cougars shot a dismal 27.5 percent from the field (19-69) and 23.3 percent from three (7-30). Until this game, BYU had averaged 54 percent from the field, and last year were the third best D-1 team from the field at 50 percent. BYU fans can be confident that the BYU’s shooting in the game will be an anomaly, and will hope that BYU will put this game behind them quickly. Fans can also be excited about Gideon George, who was maybe the lone bright spot for the Cougars. George had 11 points and 6 rebounds. Matt Haarms also had 11 points and 6 rebounds. BYU was out-rebounded 50-35.
The 3-1 Cougars take on St. John’s tomorrow, a game that was added late as Vanderbilt dropped out of the tournament over the weekend. The Red Storm is 3-0 and beat Boston College on Monday at the Mohegan Sun.