Provo • The faces might be different, but there’s nothing different about the way the BYU basketball team gets buckets.
The Cougars beat the Westminster College Griffins 108-56 in Wednesday’s home opener by using a relentless attack from the 3-point line. BYU outscored Westminster by 27 points from beyond the arc.
“We hit the open man,” Senior guard Alex Barcello said of the team’s shooting. “We swung the ball, made the extra pass. We are a very unselfish team.”
The Cougars made 18 of their 3-pointers in 39 attempts, which was an all-time record at the Marriott Center. They took a total of 71 shots in the game.
BYU also had 10 different players make at least one 3-pointer in the game.
“That’s a big deal for us,” Barcello said of the stat.
Cougars coach Mark Pope said he doesn’t expect to make 18 3-pointers every game. But he does expect to keep making shots because of how much he focuses making that part of BYU’s game.
“I expect us to be a really good 3-point shooting team because of how we approach it,” Pope said. “The best thing the guys did today is they owned their shot and and they worked really hard to earn their teammates shots. That’s been a good recipe for us.”
Barcello led the Cougars in scoring with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Senior guard Brandon Averette added 15 points, while junior forward Kolby Lee had five points and a career-high seven assists.
The Cougars got off to a quick start offensively. Three of their first four made baskets were 3-pointers, and they jumped to a 20-7 lead. Shortly after halftime, BYU took a 62-32 lead. The team’s biggest lead was 55.
• BYU wins hope opener in blowout fashion, 108-59 over Westminster College.
• BYU outscored Westminster by 27 points from the 3-point line.
• BYU’s biggest lead over the Griffins was 55 points.
The game was played in front of about 200 friends and family members due to COVID-19 protocols. Several fans attended the game virtually and were displayed on the video board behind the stats table.
The home and opposing benches were staggered and distanced, much like the NBA’s were in the Orlando bubble over the summer. Simulated crowd noise played in the arena throughout the game.
“There was a few times I kind of forgot the gym was empty,” said Averette, who made his Cougars debut Wednesday. “I felt the energy on the bench and throughout our team.”
Pope said several people were involved in getting up the team’s home arena that way, and the challenge was creating “the best home gym in the country with no fans.” Pope said he “loved” the sound system.
“We’re incredibly grateful that everybody here at BYU is doing the very best they can,” Pope said. “Hopefully that’s what our program is going to do, too.”
Griffins senior guard Reme Torbert had a team-high 13 points and shot 4-of-7 from the 3-point line. Junior guard Jarrett Jordan had 14 points and was the only other Westminster player in double figures.
BYU has a quick turnaround and will play the New Orleans Privateers on Thursday at home.