After winning eight of the last nine games against the Pepperdine Waves, the BYU Cougars looked to almost sleepwalk through the majority of the game. Lazy defense gave Pepperdine offensive rebounds and second chance points as almost all the hustle plays went the Waves way. Add an off night from the floor from the Cougars and it was a recipe for disaster.Tyler Haws did make his presence known once again and with his 10th point he surpassed Michael Smith as 3rd all time on the BYU scoring list.
The Cougars were playing catch up from the get go as Pepperdine hit their first three pointer of the game and scored the first five points. Haws would finally put the Cougars on the board with a three pointer of his own but Pepperdine would answer with a 5-0 run to lead 10-3. The Cougars would find ways to keep within single digits until Stacy Davis came off the bench and took over the game. The game quickly began to turn in favor of the Waves as they hit three pointers with ease and kept the Cougars from hitting shots, opening up a 27-16 lead with less than 12 minutes left in the half. The Cougars defense was lacking energy and continuously left shooters open before Coach Rose switched from Man-to-Man to a Zone defense. The change helped some on the defensive end but the Cougars inability to score put the team in a tough position. The Cougars deficit climbed to 14 before they went on a 7-0 run to pull within seven at 34-27 but Pepperdine would end the half on a 5-2 run to take a 10 point halftime lead of 39-29. It was a half the Cougars would love to forget as it was the lowest scoring first half of the season. The end of the half ended with a flurry of fouls on both teams but the story was no fouls on the Waves in the first 17 minutes, and no free throws in the half for the Cougars.
As the game continued to be physical, and tempers flared, the second half was a foul fest compared to the first half but the Cougars continued to struggle to make the comeback. Once again the Cougars would struggle with their in-bounds passing in the half court and turnovers began to sap the Cougars confidence. The Waves lead continued to hold steady around the 10 point mark throughout the half until BYU found some energy with the under eight minute time out. Foul trouble and an injury began to take its toll on the Waves at the point guard position, and BYU began to make a run. The Cougars defense became stifling but the offense struggled to capitalize, but managed a 10-2 run to pull it within three. Turnovers once again threatened the Cougars as a turnover and easy bucket extended the lead back out to five before Anson Winder drove for a bucket for a 56-53 score. Davis would once again hit a big shot from 15 out to quiet the crowd as the Cougars mounted one last comeback. With the defenses stepping up and forcing the offenses to adjust, the game began to hinge on free throws. Winder, Haws, and Kyle Collinsworth each hit two free throws to keep the Cougars within one as the clock wound under two minutes. With a 60-59 lead the Waves started to play to just hang on and it led to bad shots and erratic play. BYU missed their first, and only, chance at a lead as a shot by Haws rimmed off. BYU then sent Davis to the free-throw line with 40 seconds to go, allowing the Waves to go back up 62-59. With the clock under 30 seconds Winder took an ill advised three point shot, forcing the Cougars to foul again as Pepperdine hit both for the five point lead. Collinsworth came down and missed his own three and a tie-up gave the Waves breakaway layup and the seven point lead. BYU would get one more bucket as Frank Bartley IV was given a lay up as all but the final score was determined. With the 67-61 loss the Cougars drop their second home game in the first half of conference play.
Tyler Haws once again led all scorers with 26, but for the first time in a number of games only one other Cougar found double digits. Winder added 16 while Collinsworth struggled to get anything going as he ended with four points and only three rebounds.
BYU will stay home for a game on Saturday, January 10th at 7 pm MST. The game will be televised live on BYUtv.