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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga BYU key matchup: Cougars need guard Alex Barcello at his best

Associated press

Alex Barcello is BYU’s leading scorer, but he came up fifth in that department in the Cougars’ 86-69 loss to Gonzaga in January. He endured one of his worst games in an otherwise sparkling senior season: 3 of 11 from the field, nine points, five rebounds, five assists, six turnovers.

The 6-foot-2 guard typically produces 15.2 points, 4.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds and connects on 48.6% of his 3-point attempts. Barcello ranks fourth in the WCC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2).

Barcello and backcourt mate Brandon Averette didn’t have much luck against Gonzaga’s bigger, athletic guards in the first meeting.

Jalen Suggs was one of the primary defenders on Barcello, who also had to deal with 6-5 Joel Ayayi and 6-5 Andrew Nembhard.

Aaron Cook will be another option on Barcello. Cook missed the first game with a leg injury, but he’s healthy and he’s a dependable defender.

The Cougars will probably try to get Barcello going early, something that didn’t happen in the last meeting. He scored four of his nine points in the final 2:15 of the blowout. BYU needs its best player to be at his best to spring the upset.