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What you need to know: BYU vs Pepperdine preview (Round 2)

After a convincing win over LMU the Cougars look to win two at home as they take on the Waves.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The History

After the game last Saturday the BYU Cougars and the Pepperdine Waves have meet on the hardcourt 17 times since 1944 with BYU winning 9 of them. The Cougars were swept by the Waves last season and lost the first game this year so they need a win to prevent four straight for the Waves.

Malibu, CA 2015 (80-74)

In the second game between the schools last year the Cougars had two players score 20 points or more as Haws scored 22 while Anson Winder scored 20. However, the 42 points ended up being more than half of the Cougars points as they fell for the second time to the Waves. The Cougars took the lead in the first half as they led by 13 on a couple of occasions, even taking a 38-25 lead into the half. The second half would be a different story as the Waves continued to pound the Cougars and found their way back into the game and took the lead with less than 10 minutes to go in the game. At that point they wouldn't relinquish the lead again and held on for the 80-74 win.

Malibu, CA 2016 (71-65)

In the first meeting this year between the teams the game was a close battle that ultimately fell the Waves way. The teams traded jabs early and often but both teams struggled to pull away. The largest lead of the game was six and it took Pepperdine until just over five minutes were left in the game to reach that. For the first time in a while there wasn't a Cougar that scored twenty points, but Kyle Collinsworth led the Cougars with 18. Nick Emery added 17 and Chase Fischer added 15 in the 71-65 loss.

The Outlook

The Cougars started slow for about 10 minutes but ended up dominating the game against Loyola Marymount as they came away with a huge confidence booster at home. Going into the game on Saturday the Cougars will be confident in their shots and in front of their home crowd. After the first 10 minutes the game really never was close. The starters should be a bit rested up for Saturday and the young guys had a chance to play some minutes so they can be ready if called on tomorrow.

The Positives

It is hard to decide what was better, the play of Corbin Kaufusi off the bench or the team defense that was played all game. Kaufusi ended up with 12 points and had a stretch where he scored seven straight points for the Cougars. Kaufusi also had two blocks to go along with his 5-5 shooting.

The Cougars defense on the other hand held the Lions to 62 points after giving up 80 last week, held them to 33% shooting from the field and 9% from behind the arc. The Cougars also helped force 13 turnovers and scored 24 points off of them. A true all around performance for the Cougars.

The Negatives

BYU still needs to improve a bit when it comes to giving up offensive rebounds. The Cougars gave up 12 to the Lions and that led to eight points. Most teams would take advantage of that and so the Cougars will need to shore up those rebounds in order to prevent second chance points against better teams. Once again the Cougars started slow but this time it only lasted a few minutes but they should never have been down my eight to the Lions. It was remedied more quickly than normal, but still longer than desired.

The Keys to Watch

When the Waves have the ball:

Watch for the Waves to take a similar approach to their game plan from last Saturday. Pepperdine had 16 assists against the Cougars as the extra pass helped to create open shots. Five Waves scored in double figures and kept the Cougars hopping. As expected the Waves were led by Lamond Murray Jr. as he scored 20 points in the win. Jett Raines wasn't far behind with 18. Watch for these two to take control once again, but don't sleep on Stacy Davis and Jeremy Major as they will play a large roll on Saturday.

Watch for the Cougars to refocus on rebounding. The Waves outrebounded the Cougars by five on defense and pulled 15 rebounds down on offense. Watch for the Cougars big men to get in position early and do a much better job at blocking out. Watch for the Cougars to continue to hound the ball handler as they helped create 12 turnovers against the Waves, and watch for it to be intensified as the Cougars find a way to change their fortunes against the Waves.

When the Cougars have the ball:

Watch for the Cougars to find ways to get open shots, and watch them fall a bit more often than they did on the road. The Cougars offense was beat in almost every way possible on Saturday and so look for them to change it up a bit as they rely on an inside presence for scoring and rebounding. Watch for the Cougars to put up better numbers this week and force the pace of the game to speed up, allowing BYU to play their fast paced offense.

Watch for the Waves to defend the three just like they did last week. The Cougars finished the game shooting 27% from behind the arc and that was the difference in the game. Not only did the Waves defend the long ball, they also kept the Cougars from sharing the ball as they limited the Cougars to 10 assists for the game. Watch for the defense to once again pressure the shooter into low percentage shots as they try to keep the game low scoring once again.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 8 pm MST

TV: ESPN2

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