Thursday will mark the 14th meeting between the BYU Cougars and the Loyola Marymount Lions. The series started in 1937 and the Cougars are up nine wins to four. This is the second time in a week that the teams have met on the hardwood. The Cougars swept the series last year and with a win in the first game look to sweep the Lions again in the regular season.
Los Angeles, CA 2015 (87-68)
In round two of the 2015 season Kyle 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.
Los Angeles, CA 2016 (91-80)
For the second time in as many games against the Lions, Collinsworth recorded a triple double. This time is was his tenth of his career and his fourth of the season. Although Collinsworth stole the show, it was really a team effort for the win. The Cougars battled for the first part of the half but a six minute scoring drought, and a 20-0 run by the Lions, put Loyola Marymount up by 12. The Cougars would pull within 10 at the half and then would dominate the second half. The Cougars defense kept the Lions to 30 points in the second half while the offense scored 51, leading to the 91-80 BYU win. Nick Emery led with 24 points while Kyle Davis recorded his 8th double double of the year.
After a comeback win against the Lions last Thursday, the Cougars once again fell flat and dropped a game on the road. The loss to Pepperdine was another game where the Cougars couldn't find their groove on the court and the opponent took advantage. BYU had their chances, they just didn't come through in the clutch and will now face a team that could have beat the Cougars last week.
Based on stats alone, it is hard to find anything positive from this game. However, for the first time in a while the Cougars didn't find themselves down by double-digits at any time during the game. The biggest deficit the Cougars faced was six points, and when the game is kept this close this team always has a chance to win the game. The Cougars didn't need to expend all their energy on a comeback so this is another reason why the loss is so baffling.
Once again the Cougars were outshot, outrebounded, outscored, and outhustled by a team that wasn't expected to beat the Cougars. BYU never seemed to find their rhythm as they ended up shooting 36% from the field and only 27% from behind the arc. When the Cougars can't find the basket, it leads to bad losses since the defense isn't the strong suit of this BYU team. The Cougars will need to find a way to win the low scoring games, but have yet to find the confidence to do so.
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 once again. Jacko dominated the middle as he walked away with 26 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. Brown didn't light up the scoreboard as he only had eight points, but he did dish the ball as expected as he finished with 10 for the night. Haney ended the game with 18 points on 5 of 10 shooting behind the arc, so watch for the game plan to pretty much be the same with the exception of a little more focus on rebounding.
Watch for the Cougars to push the ball outside and allow the Lions, minus Haney, to shoot from the three point line as they only average 34% as a team. After the performance by Haney last week, watch for the Cougars to defend him a bit better from deep. Once again the Cougars will also have the chance to dominate the boards if the big guys can get position. Last game they outrebounded the Lions by 10 and will look to do the same.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for the Cougars to use a game plan more designed like the second half of the game, and not the first. It helps when the shots are falling, but getting the open shot makes it much easier to make the baskets then shooting with a hand in the face. Watch for the Cougars to spread the ball around and make the extra pass in order to get better shots as they look to start out stronger in the second match up.
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 Cougars outrebounded the Lions by five on the offensive glass last game so watch for the Lions to focus on grabbing the ball before the Cougars do.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 9 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