The BYU Cougars and the Pepperdine Waves have met on the hard-court 15 times since 1944, with BYU winning 9 of them. The Cougars have won three of the last five meetings, but dropped the first meeting between the schools this season.
Provo, UT 2015 (67-61 Loss)
Even behind 26 points from Tyler Haws, the Cougars found themselves in a hole and couldn't get out. Only two Cougars reached double digit scoring with Anson Winder contributing 16 points in the loss. BYU fell behind early, not scoring for the first two minutes and allowing the Waves to build a 22-13 lead.
BYU would make a run near the end of the half, pulling within seven, but ended up down 10 at halftime. The Cougars wouldn't take their first free-throws of the game until eight minutes into the second half and BYU could never quite make the comeback. BYU was down one with two minutes left but couldn't pull any closer and lost 67-61.
Provo, UT 2014 (84-72)
Haws once again led the team to a win, scoring then season-high 35 points. BYU never trailed but after starting 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 then 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. Kyle Collinsworth flirted with a triple-double as he ended 15 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in the 84-72 win.
The Cougars are looking to rebound from the previous game against the Waves and are coming into the game after two straight wins. The Cougars played well against Santa Clara as they destroyed the Broncos for the second time this year. The Cougars were fantastic from behind the arc and received quality post play from more than one player.
The post play from Isaac Nielson and Ryan Andrus surprised everyone as they combined for 17 rebounds, eight of them being on the offensive end. The eight rebounds helped lead to 14 second chance points and came at key times. This may be the best combined post play since Nate Austin was injured, giving the Cougars some hope in the paint.
After going 3-20 from the three point line in the last game, and not much better in the previous game, the Cougars lit it up from behind the arc against the Broncos. The 51% shooting, coming on 15-29, looked like a three point feast. Haws, Winder, and Fischer combined for 10-18 from behind the arc while Halford added three of his own.
BYU played without Kyle Collinsworth as he sat out with a bruised tailbone. If the Cougars are going to make some noise in the second half of the WCC season, Collinsworth must be a part of it. The team in general is struggling with injuries but players need to step up and fill the gaps when on the floor. Collinsworth is irreplaceable and will be needed on and off the court as the team tries to find itself before the tournaments start. Based partially on injuries and partially on poor play, Coach Rose experimented with a variety of line-ups throughout the game. Shuffling line-ups is never good this late in the season, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
The Keys to Watch
When the Waves have the ball:
Watch for the Waves to slow the game down again and use the clock in order to manipulate the shot selection, limiting the number of possessions. Watch for junior forward Stacy Davis to receive the bulk of the offensive work again as he averages 15 points per game while pulling down almost eight rebounds per game. He showed his worth in the last meeting as he finished the game with 23 points and eight rebounds. Since the last meeting the Waves three point shooting has taken a dip to under 33% from behind the arc, about on par with how they shot last game. They took 19 three-pointers and only made six for 31%.
Watch for the Cougars to force the ball out of the hands of Amadi Udenyi as he averages just over four 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 watch for the Cougars to keep their hands up and in the passing lanes. Watch for the Cougars to give the Waves the three point shot as they dare them to make it.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for the Cougars to get away from the four guard line up a bit more in this game and utilize Kaufusi, Neilson, and Andrus as much as possible. With Collinsworth still questionable, this line up may be forced on Coach Rose as much as anything. Watch for the Cougars to speed up the tempo and force the Waves to play at the Cougars pace instead of the other way around. The Cougars are banking on hitting their three pointers and getting a few more than eight free throws in this game.
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. Watch for the Waves to push the envelope a bit and see how much physical play they can get away with before the officials start calling fouls. The Cougars didn't get to the free throw line until late in the second half in the first game so they will try and mimic that play again.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 9 pm MST
TV: TWC Sports Network
Where: Firestone Fieldhouse-Malibu, CA
Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here