SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP)Coming off an in-state loss, the first for BYU, the No. 12 Cougars traveled east and found themselves in a physical battle at Missouri State.
In the end, BYU overcame.
Alex Barcello scored 21 points, Te’Jon Lucas added 17 and the Cougars pulled away in the final 90 seconds to defeat the Bears 74-68.
”I’m super proud of our guys,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. ”It’s been a really hard week for us between illnesses, injuries and taking our first loss. These guys found a way to get it done tonight and in the process grew closer together and built trust in each other that is going to bode well for us going forward.”
Leading 35-27 at the half, the Cougars scored the first six points of the second half to lead 41-27, the largest lead of the game. The Bears clawed back and trailed 63-62 on a Gaige Prim layup with 1:38 to play.
Barcello quickly responded with a jumper and had two free throws in a 7-0 burst and added another free throw as the surge became 10-2 and a 73-64 lead with 14 seconds left.
Spencer Johnson scored 14 points and Caleb Lohner 11 for the Cougars (7-1), who bounced back after losing to Utah Valley in overtime. Barcello also had four steals.
Reserves Jaylen Minnett and Lu’cye Patterson scored 19 and 16 points, respectively, for the Bears (4-4). Minnett had all five 3-pointers for the Bears and Patterson was 8-of-10 shooting as the bench scored 31 points.
Gaige Prim added 17 points but Isiaih Mosley (18.3 ppg) only played seven minutes and didn’t score for the first time since he was blanked three times as a freshman.
Patterson twice gave Missouri State a one-point lead in the middle of the first half, but Johnson, who had 12 points in the first half, kept BYU in control.
Barcello scored 15 points in the second half and Lucas had 11.
Missouri State’s four losses have been by six points or less.
After three road games, BYU returns home to face in-state rival Utah State on Wednesday.
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