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What you need to know: BYU vs Pepperdine preview (Basketball Edition)

After splitting the season series last year, the Cougars and Waves will meet in Provo for their first meeting of the year.

Stacy Davis will lead the Waves against the Cougars on Thursday
Stacy Davis will lead the Waves against the Cougars on Thursday
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The History

The BYU Cougars and the Pepperdine Waves have met on the hardcourt 14 times since 1944 with BYU winning 9 of them. The Cougars have won three of the last four meetings but dropped the first meeting between the schools last season.

Malibu, CA 2013 (80-74 Loss)

The Cougars struggled early as they faced off against the Waves in Malibu and could never quite make the comeback needed for the win. After trailing by nine early, Pepperdine was able to increase its lead to 12 at 40-28 by the half and looked to be in position to run away with the game. The Cougars made a number of comebacks in the half, but could never pull closer than four. Tyler Haws led all Cougars with 20 points and six rebounds. Kyle Collinsworth did what he does best as he filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals.

Provo, UT 2014 (84-72)

In the rematch game for the Cougars, Haws once again led the team to a win as he scored a then season high 35 points. BYU never trailed, but after the Cougars started off with a 12-0 run, the Waves made a push and pulled it to within one at 18-17 and then tied it at 28. The Cougars took a 33-30 lead into the locker room. The Cougars would come out with another run to start the half and wouldn't allow Pepperdine any closer than two points for the remainder of the game. With the game on the line Haws wouldn't let the Cougars lose as he scored 12 of the final 19 points for the Cougars. Collinsworth once again flirted with a triple-double as he ended 15 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in the 84-72 win.

The Outlook

After two road victories of over 30 points, it is hard to complain about how the Cougars are playing. The first half of the Cougars dominate performance against San Francisco is one for the ages as they shot 74 percent from the field and dominated from start to finish. Nobody expected this type of play on the road and now the Cougars get a couple at home to try and keep the momentum going.

The Positives

The Cougars three-point shooting was lights out as they ended the game hitting almost 57 percent of their three pointers, 15 of 28, and hit on 73 percent in the first half. After seeing a few games where they struggled from behind the arc, it was key for the Cougars confidence to have a game like this as they continue conference play.

The Cougars continued to share the ball as 22 of the 33 field goals on the night were assisted, leading to yet another Collinsworth triple double. The Cougars had four triple doubles in the history of BYU basketball coming into this year and now Collinsworth has three in just a few weeks. As the Cougars continue to share the ball and get many players involved, the Cougars will continue to make it difficult for teams to beat them.

The Negatives

BYU once again outrebounded the opponent, but this time was outrebounded on the offensive side of the ball. Giving up 10 offensive rebounds is tough to swallow in any game, even a 31-point win. The fact that the Cougars ran a four guard lineup for most of the game was part of this, but it will need to be addressed before the more talented teams dominate the second chance points.

The Keys to Watch

When the Waves have the ball:

Watch for the Waves to use the clock in order to manipulate the shot selection, and limit the number of possessions. Watch for junior forward Stacy Davis to receive the bulk of the offensive work as he averages 15 points per game while pulling down almost eight rebounds per game. Watch for the Waves to keep their shots inside the three-point line as they have only taken two more three point attempts than free throw makes. As a team they only shoot 36 percent from behind the arc.

Watch for the Cougars to force the ball out of the hands of Amadi Udenyi as he averages almost five assists per game and turns it over less than twice per game. Watch for the Cougars to collapse on Davis as they force bad shots or bad passes from the post. Davis is averaging over two assists per game, so expect for the Cougars to keep their hands up and in the passing lanes.

When the Cougars have the ball:

Watch for the Cougars to continue with the four guard lineup that has been employed in the last three games. The Cougars continue to play well with this lineup. This success should continue as it provides the Cougars with additional scorers on the floor, not to mention guys that will run the court and force teams to adjust. Watch for the Cougars to continue to use Corbin Kaufusi in the paint to provide another advantage and force the Waves to guard inside and out.

Watch for the Waves to guard the three-point shot. The Waves are one of the best perimeter defenses in the country, so don't expect the Cougars to get open the open shots that are becoming common with this team. Watch for the Waves to force the Cougars to make contested shots from all over the court in order to win, even opting to put BYU at the free throw line.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 9 pm MST

TV: ESPNU

Where: Marriot Center-Provo, UT

Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143

Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here