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What you need to Know: BYU vs Pepperdine II (Basketball Edition)

After finding their grove against San Diego on Saturday, the Cougars will look to avenge their loss to Pepperdine when the two meet in Provo on Thursday night.

eric Mika and Matt Carlino Celebrate
eric Mika and Matt Carlino Celebrate
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The History

When BYU and Pepperdine meet on Thursday night, it will be for the 14th time with BYU holding an 8-5 advantage. The first game took place in 1944 while the conference foes have met twice a year since the Cougars joined the WCC. The last game took place less than two weeks ago and ended with a Cougar loss.

Provo, UT 2013 (7-4)

Led by Tyler Haws and his 24 points, the Cougars overcame a halftime deficit to beat the Wave 76-51. BYU shot only 28 percent from the field in the first half which led to a five point lead for Pepperdine at 35-30. With 14 minutes left in the game, BYU took their first lead in over 20 minutes when Carlino hit a 3-point shot to put Cougars up 40-39. After a 12-0 run and a 6-0 run, the Cougars turned the lead into double digits and didn't look back.

Malibu, CA 2013 (8-4)

BYU again struggled in the first half of the ball game but still ended up on the winning end in a 63-61 game. Brandon Davies recorded a double-double, his sixth of the year, with 20 points and 12 rebounds. After going into the halftime break down 31-20, the Cougars put up 43 points in the second half to come out on top. Tyler Haws added 21 points while Matt Carlino added 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Malibu, CA 2013 (8-5)

The six point loss in the first meeting of the year wasn't as close as the score indicated. Pepperdine started strong and built a nine point lead with 10 minutes left in the first half and kept the lead for the rest of the game. The Cougars made a run near the end but a lack of three-point shooting and having Eric Mika and Nate Austin foul out took it's toll in the 80-74 loss. Haws led the team with 20 points while Kyle Collinsworth added 11 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Malcom Brooks led all scores with 24 on 6-9 shooting from the three-point line.

The Outlook

A win against San Diego helped soothe some of the pain from a four game losing streak. The fourth loss was to Pepperdine and the Cougars are looking to avenge the loss while playing on their home court. The team played with more energy and determination and this showed up on the stat sheet and on the scoreboard. Coupled with the home crowd and more energy, the Cougars are in a good position to capitalize.

The Positives

Skyler Halford announced his presence to the WCC when he destroyed San Diego in his first start. With 28 points on 11-16 shooting, Halford made Coach Rose look like a genius when he replaced Carlino with Halford in the starting line up. Halford not only provided points, but he introduced an energy that was lacking in the games during the losing streak.

In a step forward for the defense, they held a less than stellar offense to 53 points. After only allowing 23 points in the first half, the defense only allowed 30 in the second and kept the Toreros to 35% shooting. The Cougars played the three point shot a better while only allowing San Diego to hit 2-17 from behind the arc. Even with Mika on the bench due to injury, the BYU defense grabbed almost twice as many rebounds at 32-16.

The Negatives

With the high amount of rebounds you would expect this offense to get some fast break points. Even though they were not needed, the Cougars were only able to convert four fast break points. Against good teams the Cougars need to convert on turnovers and rebounds, forcing the opponents to run with the Cougars.

The defense held San Diego to 53 points but couldn't create turnovers. The Toreros ended up with only nine for the game and that limited the Cougar offense. A key to the Cougars runs are getting their hands in the lanes and forcing bad passes. When this doesn't happen, the opponents can slow down the game and change the tempo, taking away one of the Cougars strengths.

The Keys to Watch

When Pepperdine has the ball: Watch for the Waves to try to duplicate the success from the first game. BYU gave up the three point shot time and time again, allowing Pepperdine to hit over 50% of their shots. Brooks started off strong and tapered of a bit at the end, but look for BYU to play him closer and force the ball into the hands of the other players. Watch for Pepperdine to continue to share the ball, but only enough to get their work horses open. BYU will focus on increasing the margin in the rebounding game, limiting fast break and second chance points.

When BYU has the ball: Watch for the Cougars to shoot better than their 1-11 from behind the arc. Many of the missed shots in Malibu will go in when playing at home and can be the difference in a win and a loss. With the increased energy provided by Halford, look for the Cougars to feed off the crowd and make more hustle plays. Pepperdine will be content letting the Cougars shoot the three, until it starts falling. The Wave will also be trying to take Mika and Austin out of the game by being physical and putting the big men in foul trouble again. Watch for The Cougars to use their big men early in the game and minimizing unnecessary fouls.

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

Watch via Internet: Click Here