Today will mark the 10th meeting between BYU and Loyola Marymount, in a series that dates back to 1937. The Cougars have a slim 5-4 lead after a win in Provo. The Cougars and Lions split the regular season series so both teams are looking to win the rubber match.
Provo, UT 2014 (4-4)
Led by the Cougars big three (Tyler Haws, Kyle Collinsworth, Matt Carlino), BYU dismantled the Lions with a 91-68 victory. The three stars combined for 69 points with Haws scoring 31, Collinsowrth adding 20, and Carlino had 18. The Cougars again started slow and spotted the Lions a 10 point lead at 30-20 before going on a 13-3 run to tie the game. With a one-point deficit at the half, the Cougars did their damage in the second half where they had runs of 10-0 and 30-8. BYU ended up shooting over 60 percent for the half and had a rebound advantage of 10. Points off turnovers also helped the Cougars as they scored 23 points off 16 Lion's turnovers.
Los Angeles, CA 2013 (4-3)
In the regular season finale, the Cougars traveled to Gerston Pavilion to try and mimic the blow out that took place in the Marriott Center. Things didn't work out quite the same as the Lions fought to stay in the game and ended up with only a three point loss. The Cougars hit key free-throws to keep or extend their lead. In the 73-70 result, Haws scored 24 points to lead the Cougars while hit all 14 free-throws. Matt Carlino and Brandon Davies each finished with 11.
Los Angeles, CA 2013 (4-4)
In the first meeting of the season, LMU started off strong and never looked back. The Cougars didn't have an answer to Evan Payne who scored 27 points, including 5-9 from behind the arc. Anthony Ireland made his presence known as he scored 14 and dished out 9 assists. Down by 15 at the half the Cougars were unable to cut the lead from double digits and ended with the 11 point lost 87-76.
The Cougars have won eight of their last nine games and are looking much better on defense. BYU has won a couple of close games as well as a couple of low scoring games. The most points the Cougars have allowed in the last four games was 72, and that was in a blow out of Portland. With defensive gems against Saint Mary's (57) and Gonzaga (65), the Cougars have worked their way back onto the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
There are many positives to take from the final game of the regular season but one of the key positives was that it was on the road and against a team that was still fighting for positioning. With the win the Cougars solidified their 2nd seed in the tournament and avoided a possible meeting Gonzaga or Saint Mary's until the finals. It would be hard to discount the bench production (23 points) or the three point shooting (56%).
The glaring negative stat would be the turnovers. The Cougars ended with 17 for the game but their defense played well enough to only allow 15 points off them. If the Cougars continue to turn the ball over at that pace, they may find themselves in a position to lose the game instead of winning it.
The Keys to Watch
When Loyola Marymount has the ball: Watch for Ireland and Payne to continue to carry the bulk of the work as they are averaging 18.5 and 15.5 and over half the teams assists. The Cougars did a good job of keeping them both under their scoring average last time and forced the Lions bench to try and make up the difference. Watch for the Cougars to take the same approach and force the ball into the hands of the other players. If the Cougars are successful, don't look for the Lions bench to pull out the win.
When BYU has the ball: Watch for BYU to get the ball inside and get points in the paint. Even with Mika out the last time they met, the Cougars scored 36 points in the paint and opened up the outside shot for Haws and Carlino, leading to a shooting percentage of over 50 percent. Watch for the Lions to try and force the big men out of the paint in order to force longer shot and to even out the rebounding numbers.. LMU can't allow the Cougars to grab 14 rebounds and keep themselves in the game.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 3 pm MST
Where: Orleans Arena - Las Vegas,NV
Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
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