Saturday will mark the 12th 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 7-4 lead. The teams split the series last year with each team winning on its home floor, and the Cougars took the first game this season at home as well.
Provo, UT 2015 (85-72)
Once again, Kyle Collinsworth came up just shy of a triple-double with 13 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, and dishing eight assists in the Cougars' 85-72 win over the Lions. BYU started the game on a 10-0 run and never lost the lead. After going into halftime with an 11 point lead, the Lions took a few runs at the Cougars but a second half 13-0 stretch by the Cougars put the LMU away for good. Chase Fischer added 19 points to the 26 by Tyler Haws, and Anson Winder added 15.
Provo, UT 2014 (91-68)
After only scoring 11 points in the first meeting of last season, Tyler Haws put the team on his shoulders as he scored 31 points and added four rebounds. 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. LMU would take its last lead with more than 12 minutes left in the game at 55-52. From that point, the Cougars would outscore the Lions 39-13 and walk away with the win. Collinsworth ended with 20 points and nine rebounds as he joined Haws in leading the team to the 91-68 win.
The game at Pepperdine essentially ended all hopes for BYU getting an at-large birth to the NCAA Tournament, so now the fans have to hope for unlikely wins or unlikely help from other teams. The Cougars played what may have been their best defensive half before they played their worst defensive half of the season. The Cougars are still finding themselves as they face injuries, but it is too late in the season development to lead to needed results.
The first half of the game was a beautiful display of defense, and the Cougars built up a 16 point lead without Chase Fischer playing. He will be re-evaluated for this game, but it did show that the Cougars could score without him. BYU was playing tough on and off the ball, getting rebounds and forcing their game on the Waves. The defense was a welcome change for the Cougars as they had struggled all year with stopping the other team.
The second half was the complete opposite. The Cougars couldn't find a way to stop Stacy Davis and went over five minutes on a number of occasions without a bucket. It got so bad Coach Rose earned his first technical foul on the season. After holding the Waves to 25 first half points, the Cougars gave up 55 second half points. Not good on any level. Oh, and did we mention that Fischer was out after getting hit in the head with a ball during shoot-around? The Cougars need to change things around fast if they are going to make any noise in any tournament that they play in, including the conference tournament, and they need to start it today.
The Keys to Watch
When the Lions have the ball:
Watch for the Lions to play a bit differently this time as they should have their leading scorer, Evan Payne, in this contest. Payne missed the last game due to a coach's decision, so the Cougars saw a team that spread the wealth with five players scoring in double-digits. Payne has dropped his scoring average from over 20 points per game to just under 18, but Ayodeji Egbeyemi has helped fill the hole. Edbeyemi has crept up into the double-digits as he takes a little of the pressure off Payne and Marin Mornar isn't too far behind. Watch for the team to continue to slow the pace down but spread the ball around, similar to the previous game.
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 BYU to take advantage of offensive rebounds as the Cougars' post players have started to step up a bit. Last time the teams met, BYU was outrebounded by one, with four of them being on the offensive side. BYU isn't going to let that happen again. Watch for the Cougars to play a bit more inside-out, although the three point shot will still dominate the offense.
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 for the Cougars. Watch for the Lions to not give the Cougars breathing room until the officials start to call fouls. If the officials are loose with the whistle, this could be the advantage the Lions need to stay in the game.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 2 pm MST
Where: Gersten Pavilion-Los Angeles, CA
TV: Root Sports
Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here