Te’Jon Lucas scored 18 points to lead 18th-ranked BYU to its fifth straight victory, an 81-64 triumph over Texas Southern on Wednesday night in Provo, Utah.
Fousseyni Traore put up 13 points, Alex Barcello contributed 12, Gavin Baxter had 11 and Gideon George amassed 10 points and 16 rebounds for the Cougars (5-0).
PJ Henry topped all scorers with 21 points for Texas Southern, which dropped its sixth consecutive game to open the season after making the NCAA Tournament last season.
Neither team shot well — both squads made 39 percent of their field-goal attempts — but BYU won the rebounding battle 52-38 and outscored the Tigers 34-24 in the paint.
Texas Southern jumped out to a 4-0 lead as BYU missed its first five shots. The Cougars didn’t score until Baxter made a layup just over three minutes into the contest. That kicked off a 9-0 run for the Cougars.
Moments later, BYU scored seven in a row to take a 16-7 lead midway through the first half.
Texas Southern remained within striking distance, trailing by just seven late in the first half. However, George and Barcello gave the Cougars a 43-30 halftime lead with late 3-pointers.
Brison Gresham completed a three-point play with 13 minutes remaining to bring Texas Southern within 59-49, but BYU’s defense clamped down and never allowed the Tigers to get any closer the rest of the game.
Gresham finished with 12 points and nine rebounds for Texas Southern, but he and Henry were the only Tigers to end up with double-figure scoring.
Barcello had a relatively quiet offensive night, hitting just 3 of 11 shots after earning West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 20.5 points last week in blowout wins over then-12th-ranked Oregon and Central Methodist. BYU’s leader found other ways to contribute, though, finishing with five rebounds and four assists.
Lucas distributed seven of BYU’s 17 assists.