Unlike Wednesday’s season opener, 3-pointers weren’t dropping at a record-setting clip for BYU Thanksgiving night at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of other things vexing the Cougars, including New Orleans’ quick, aggressive style and a game that saw a disjointed pace and a total of 51 personal fouls called.
It was a struggle for the Cougars to get into any sort of rhythm.
“Super frustrating. This game of basketball can be so frustrating,” said coach Mark Pope. “It was hard to get into the flow of the game because of the whistle. It was just a mountain of frustration. I told the guys at the eight-minute media timeout that a lot of times what you’re competing against actually is frustration. I thought the guys did a really nice job managing it.”
BYU relied on its size advantage against the Privateers, controlling the paint. And in the end, the Cougars (2-0) earned a somewhat ugly 86-61 victory.
“It’s what you see with a lot of young teams going against pressure,” Pope said, whose team had 18 turnovers. “We’re going to learn a lot from this. We’re really fortunate to play two completely opposite opponents the last two nights. Just getting the different looks is going to be huge for our growth. That’s what we need to do. Clearly, we’re not close to the team we need to be or going to be. But you can see the pieces of what could become a really, really special team.”
Guard Alex Barcello scored a game-high 19 points while center Richard Harward came off the bench and recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.
As a team, BYU out-rebounded New Orleans 54-28 and tallied 26 second-chance points.
“We managed to miss a lot of shots today,” Pope said. “The offensive glass has to become a significant part of this team. It’s really important to us.”