Thursday will mark the 13th meeting between the BYU Cougars and the Loyola Marymount Lions. In a series that started in 1937, or roughly one game every six years, the Cougars hold an eight to four lead. The Cougars swept the series last year and look to duplicate the same results this year.
Provo, UT 2015 (85-72)
Kyle Collinsworth came up just shy of a triple-double as he scored 13 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and dished out 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 Lions away for good. Chase Fischer added 19 points to the 26 by Haws and Anson Winder put up 15.
Los Angeles, CA 2015 (87-68)
In round two of the 2015 season Collinsworth was able to accomplish what he just missed the first time around. With 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists he recorded his fifth triple-double, setting the record for triple-doubles in a season. The Lions looked like they wanted to play early and even took an early lead at 16-11. BYU would go on a run late in the half in order to take a 40-30 lead into the locker room. The Lions pulled within six early in the second half but couldn't pull any closer as BYU would begin to run away with the game. After a couple of runs the Cougars built their up to 20 before finishing off the Lions with a 19 point win, 87-68.
After using defense to beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs last week, the Cougars reverted back to their defensive struggles and gave up 83 points to the Portland Pilots in an unexpected loss. The Cougars looked to have a bit of a hangover as they couldn't make the necessary plays in order to beat the Pilots on their home floor.
The Cougars were never out of the game, even after falling down by double digits once again. In fact, they even took the lead in the second half. The fight each and every week is once again showing that they will be in every game they play, regardless of how they start. A big part of this was because of their free throws. As a team they shot 72% from the line as they went 21-29 over the course of the game.
Once again the three point shooting killed the Cougars. After struggling at Gonzaga the Cougars could only muster 27% from behind the arc. Hitting six of their 22 shots is not going to win the Cougars very many games and like this one, it may cost them some. For the second game in a row Zac Seljaas struggled from deep as he went 0-6 on the road trip. The Cougars will need to find consistency on the road if they are going to find a way to win outside the Marriott Center.
The Keys to Watch
When the Lions have the ball:
Watch for the Lions to rely on their three headed monster in Adom Jacko, Brandon Brown, and Steven Haney. The Lions average 71 points per game, over half being scored by this trio. Jacko averages over 14 per game while Brown averages over 13 and Haney is almost at 11. Jacko also leads the team in rebounds as he averages over six per game. Along with scoring, watch for Brown to dish the ball to his big men as he records six assists per game, more than a third of the teams assists. Watch for the Lions to get the ball underneath the basket to look for the easy shot or the foul as they average almost 74% from the free throw line as a team.
Watch for the Cougars to push the ball outside and allow the Lions to shoot from the three point line as they only average 34% as a team. The Cougars will also have the chance to dominate the boards if the big guys can get position. The Lions only average 35 rebounds per game so preventing offensive rebounds should be a given as they Cougars defense looks to rebound.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for the Cougars to shoot themselves out of their long ball slump and find a way to score from the outside. With the abilities of Saljaas, Nick Emery, and Chase Fischer the Cougars shooters won't struggle for long, but they need to find the shot before the games get out of hand. Watch for the Cougars to focus on offensive rebounds and second chance points until the shooting becomes more consistent.
Watch for the Lions to play very physical inside as they try to prevent easy shots from the Cougars big men. As the physical play takes a toll on the Cougars, the shots don't fall quite as often. As the Lions push Kyle Davis and Corbin Kaufusi outside the paint, the ball tends to fall off the rim as it comes up short. Watch for the Lions big men to push further and further out as they create rebound opportunities on the inside.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 9 pm MST
Where: Gersten Pavilion-Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC Sports Network
Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here