No. 11 UCLA led No. 6 BYU from start to finish as the Bruins cruised to a 73-62 upset victory over the Cougars Saturday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in a nationally televised game on CBS.
“It’s disappointing, obviously,” said BYU senior Matt Haarms. “It’s tough to go out like that. They outplayed us. They deserved to win the game. It’s tough. It’s hard going out in the first round.”
The loss was the first time the Cougars have lost two consecutive games under head coach Mark Pope during his two seasons at BYU.
It didn’t help that the Cougars shot just 3-17 from beyond the arc (17%) and had just five assists on the night. Meanwhile UCLA went 8-of-19 (42%), and seemed like they couldn’t miss most of the night as the Bruins were incredibly efficient, turning the ball over a season-low four times.
Alex Barcello led the Cougars with 20 points, Brandon Averette added 15 points and Matt Haarms chipped in with a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds). Freshman Caleb Lohner had six points and 10 rebounds.
UCLA guard Johnny Juzang, who suffered an ankle sprain in Thursday’s First Four overtime win over Michigan State, looked unstoppable once again as he scored a game-high 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including three 3-pointers.
What makes the loss even more disappointing for the Cougars, is that No. 14 Abilene Christian knocked off No. 3 Texas 53-52 Saturday night. Now Monday’s showdown will feature No. 11 UCLA and No. 14 Abilene Christian for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
Here’s how fans, players and coaches reacted after the loss:
This much I know… Mark Pope will – somehow – build a team next year that will find a way to compete for WCC title and make it back into the NCAA tournament. We’re blessed Cougar Nation! https://t.co/0IRMh9fai2
— Tom Holmoe (@TomHolmoe) March 21, 2021
So confused today.. I’m cheering for both teams!!!!! Go Bruins… Go Cougs!!!!! I don’t like this feeling 🙁
— ByuMomma (@uclagrad90) March 21, 2021
Not the way we wanted our season to end, but we'll be back.
THANK YOU to everyone who has cheered us on throughout this season. We appreciate your support.
GO COUGS!! pic.twitter.com/UYJwuTGrb3
— BYU Basketball (@BYUbasketball) March 21, 2021
— Nick Robinson (@CoachNick_BYU) March 21, 2021
Byu was never really in this thing, for whatever reason
— Brandon Gurney (@BrandonCGurney) March 21, 2021
While the game was tied at 0-0… the @BYUbasketball team never led nor got it back to even after that… this was a true "wire-to-wire" for @UCLAMBB… heading to Mark Pope's Zoom to hear what's on his mind… #GoCougs #MarchMadness
— Adam Mikulich (@AdamMikulich) March 21, 2021
Okkayy okayy I’ll be the one to say it Brigham we gotta pick it up … so far we look like we are more excited for the damn covid test than playin in this game !!! Still first half tho
— Kyle Van Noy (@KVN_03) March 21, 2021
Tough game. Got beat by a better team. #BYUhoops
— Dave McCann (@DaveMcCannKSL) March 21, 2021
Tough losses for locals in the tourney. I still believe both teams overachieved considering their player losses from last year’s teams.
Just makes we wonder what BYU and USU could have done had last years tourney not been cancelled
— Scott Garrard (@ScottyGZone) March 21, 2021
Been a fun season. Grateful we got to watch this BYU Basketball team reload and compete. Mark Pope is a rising star and BYU is lucky to have him.
It was a beautifully ugly basketball season led by a selfless group of young men. Thanks Cougs!#BYU #BYUBasketball #BYUHoops
— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) March 21, 2021
Kenpom projected this BYU team back in October as a 12 loss team who wouldn’t make the tournament. This team proved just about everyone wrong this year. It’s always hard to end the season with a loss but this team deserves a ton of credit for what they did.
— CougarStats (@CougarStats) March 21, 2021
Well that sucked but I really like the culture of the team and direction the program is headed under Pope. Not a bad “rebuilding” year but definitely an underwhelming finish. Now I’m going to eat my sorrows away. #GoCougs
— Jonny Linehan (@jlinehan9) March 21, 2021
I’m logging off. I‘ll fight everyone tomorrow.
Thanks for the great season. Way to fight, men. #GoCougs
— Sporty (@SportyMcSports) March 21, 2021
UCLA did one thing so well today: be the aggressor and let the whistles blow or not. That coupled with their plethora of athleticism and size was too much for the Cougars.
Interested to see who wants another free year in 2021-22.
— Austin Horton (@austinhorton) March 21, 2021
I honestly cannot fathom how many rebounds Haarms gets beaten out on
— Steve Pierce (@PostJimmer) March 21, 2021
BYU would have faced Abilene Christian. Just an unfortunate loss tonight
— Ys Guide (@YsGuide) March 21, 2021
Through the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament, your double-digit seed survivors:
– 15 Oral Roberts
– 12 Oregon State
– 13 North Texas
– 10 Rutgers
– 11 Syracuse
– 10 Maryland
– 13 Ohio
– 11 UCLA
– 14 Abilene Christian
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) March 21, 2021
After losing our top 3 scorers last year (all seniors), I did not expect BYU to make the Tournament again this season, much less as a No. 6 seed.
Tonight’s result sucks, but we’re young, have more talent incoming, & an amazing coach.
— Jalenooper Dogg (@JalenooperDogg) March 21, 2021
Utah fans flexing about BYU losing in the first round is an interesting flex… when you didn’t make ANY tournament 🤷♂️
— James (@JamesWClawson) March 21, 2021