Saturday will mark the 11th meeting between the BYU Cougars and the Loyola Marymount Lions. In a series that started in 1937, or roughly one game every eight years, the Cougars hold a narrow six games to four lead. The teams split the series last year as each team won on their home floor.
Los Angeles, CA 2013 (87-76 Loss)
Allowing the Lions to rattle off a 17-2 run early in the game put the Cougars in a quick hole that they were never able to come back from. The Cougars were able to pull within 11 in the first half on a number of occasions, but ended up going into the locker room down 15. In the second half the Lions were able to build up a 21 point lead and didn't look back as BYU could only pull within 11 the rest of the game. The Cougars were led by Kyle Collinsworth as he scored 18 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and added three assists. Eric Mika added 17 points and seven rebounds in the 87-76 loss.
Provo, UT 2014 (91-68)
After only scoring 11 points in the first meeting of the season, Tyler Haws put the team on his shoulders as he scored 31 points and added four rebounds. Once again the Lions built up a double digit lead in the first half, but this time the Cougars went on a 13-3 run to tie the game at 33 before LMU went into the half with a one point lead. The Lions would take their last lead with more than 12 minutes left in the game at 55-52. From that point on the Cougars would go on to outscore the Lions 39-13 and walk away with the win. Collinsworth ended up with 20 points and nine rebounds as he joined Haws in leading the team to the 91-68 win.
A disappointing loss to Pepperdine is weighing on the Cougars mind as they have now lost two home games in the first half of conference play. Although the loss was only the fifth of the year, it might come back as a bad loss come tournament time. There was little to be pleased with in their performance, and much to be concerned about, even if it is only one game.
The bright spot for the Cougars was once again Tyler Haws. Once again he put up a game leading total, 26 points, and gave the Cougars the majority of their offense. Overshadowed by the Cougars loss was the fact that Haws passed Michael Smith for third on the BYU all-time scoring list as he hit a bucket for his 10th point. Haws can't win the game on his own, and it showed, so the rest of the team will need to step up like they have in the previous three games and shoulder some of the offense.
The fact that the Cougars lost is enough of a negative, but their shooting was atrocious as they hit only 38% of their shots. Although a good number of shots were contested, a number of wide open jumpers and layups were missed. Not only did the overall field goal percentage kill the offense, the 23% shooting from behind the arc doomed them. The normally reliable shooters went 6 of 19 from behind the arc and the rest of the team went 0-7. BYU can not shoot poorly from the entire floor and expect to beat anyone that steps on the court.
The Keys to Watch
When the Lions have the ball:
Watch for the Lions to rely heavily on their star guard Evan Payne. Payne averages over 20 points a game, almost a third of the total team's points. No other player on the roster averages double digit points, leading to Payne having the ball in his hands for most of the game. The rest of the Lions offense struggles as they shoot 33% from behind the arc and 43% from the floor. Watch for the Lions to slow the game down and try to get to the free throw line where they shoot almost 73% as a team.
Watch for the Cougars to focus on Payne and let the others try to beat them. This is one time when leaving a man to double team Payne may not hurt the defense. Watch for the Cougars to harass Payne to the point of forcing turnovers and leading to fast break points. Watch for the Cougars to use their athleticism to find the ball after the missed shots and beat up on a team that already doesn't rebound well.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for the Cougars to continue to push the pace and force the Lions to guard a lethal four guard line-up. Watch for a few of the post players to get a few extra minutes late in the game as they try to figure out their roles when the score won't matter to Coach Rose. Watch for the three point shot to be available, but maybe not fall as much as desired, leading to second chance points for the Cougars.
Watch for the Lions to use all the fouls they have as they try to stop the driving Cougars. LMU will try to slow down the pace of the game but their rebounding will cause problems with this as put backs and fast breaks will be available all night.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 7 pm MST
Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah
Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here