The Pepperdine Waves shot the lights out on their way to defeating the BYU Cougars, 80-74 at Firestone Fieldhouse on Monday night. Malcolm Brooks put up his second consecutive game of 20+ points, leading the Waves with 24 points. Jeremy Major scored 13 points, and Amadi Udenyi proved that the Waves have two outstanding freshman point guards by dishing out 5 assists to go with his 12 points. Despite having difficult shooting nights, Pepperdine’s frontcourt still played well. Stacy Davis had 12 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 blocks, while Brendan Lane had 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.
As usual, BYU was led by Tyler Haws with 20 points, but he got those points on only 7/18 shooting. But the best player for BYU was Kyle Collinsworth, who had one of the more amazing stat lines I’ve ever seen: 11 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks, and 2 steals. Skyler Halford stepped up off the bench with a ton of energy, scoring 11 points, and Eric Mika reached double figures for the 14th consecutive game, scoring 10 points. That is amazing consistency for a freshman.
Pepperdine jumped out to an early lead that kept expanding until they were up by 12 points at half time. BYU got as close as three points late in the second half, but missed free throws by Frank Bartley IV and Collinsworth proved costly.
KEYS TO THE GAME REVISITED
✓ - Find a consistent 5th starter: While he did not start, Amadi Udenyi sent coach Marty Wilson a message that maybe he should be starting in a three guard lineup with Brooks and Major. Udenyi had 5 assists with only 2 turnovers, shot 4/6 from beyond the arc. This is the second game in a row he had 5 assists, and if he keeps this up, he’ll be starting sooner rather than later.
✓ - Keep looking for Malcolm Brooks: Brooks scored a career high 24 points and shot 6/9 from beyond the arc. He is proving to be one of the best newcomers in the West Coast Conference. Brooks brings to the Waves a big guard who can score. He is a more under control version of Jordan Baker, who transferred from Pepperdine last spring. I said Brooks could be a quiet assassin, but with the way he’s played the last two games, he is making a run towards the WCC All-Conference team (or at least honorable mention).
X - Keep Mika and Austin out of foul trouble: Nope. It would be great if Coach Rose had the option of sitting Nate Austin when he has 4 fouls with 8 minutes to go. Its just impossible for him to play more than a couple minutes without fouling. Mika also fouled out, including a technical foul at the end of the game that eliminated any chance for a Cougar victory. Josh Sharp has given good minutes the last 4 games, but he is undersized and is not the physical specimen that Austin and Mika are.
X - Carlino needs to break out of his slump: Nope. Forced shots, unforced turnovers, 1-7 shooting, 2 assists and 3 turnovers. That’s not going to get it done for the Cougars. Carlino has slumps like this. I get it. But now’s not the time. Last year his slump was mainly during non-conference play, and Haws and Brandon Davies covered for him. This year, BYU needs Carlino to play well in order to earn a league win.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
This one makes a lot of sense. Pepperdine shot 13/24 on 3-pointers. BYU was 1/11, with the one coming from Anson Winder with 23 seconds left in the game when the outcome was already decided. Pepperdine shot the lights out, and BYU couldn’t throw it in the Pacific Ocean (despite being extremely close to it in Malibu). That was the clear difference-maker in the game.
Pepperdine is now 2-0 in league and riding a wave of momentum. They have 5 players playing excellent basketball right now, and that’s all they really need to be successful. They will need to be sharp when they head to Santa Clara on thursday. The Broncos just came off an excellent victory at Portland.
For BYU, I’ll refer you to an excellent article written by West Coast Convo staff writer Andrew Perkins. He puts BYU’s struggles into perspective much better than I ever could. Here is the article: http://westcoastconvo.com/2013/12/31/musings-dismayed-byu-fan/