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BYU Pulls Away Late in Season-Opening Win Over Cleveland State

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Brigham Young Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Barcello hit a couple key shots in the final minutes as BYU pulled out a hard fought 69-59 win over Cleveland State Tuesday night in the regular season opener.

Cleveland State returned all five starters from a NCAA Tournament and showed that experience by giving BYU a tough game in the Marriott Center. The Vikings physical defense forced 8 first half turnovers to take BYU out of its offensive rhythm for much of the night.

Alex Barcello led BYU with 24 points on 5-6 shooting from the floor and 13-13 from the foul line while Spencer Johnson was the lone other player in double figures with 13 points off the bench.

BYU fans received bad news pregame when Mark Pope said that starting center Richard Harward could miss extensive time with a cardiovascular issue. Harward collapsed on the sideline in the exhibition game last Thursday. Spencer Linton of BYUtv reported that BYU will re-evaluate Harward after 4 weeks.

Gavin Baxter started in place of Harward, and freshman Fousseyni Traore impressed in his college debut with 5 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks.

BYU next hosts 1-0 San Diego State Friday night in the Marriott Center in what is an opportunity for BYU to pick up a resume-building win early in the season.