The Pepperdine Waves got a statement win going into Provo and upsetting the BYU Cougars 67-61 on Thursday. The Waves jumped ahead early and withstood a comeback effort by the Cougars on the strength of one of the best defensive efforts any team has posted against the high-octane offense of BYU this season.
Jan 8, 2015; Provo, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Anson Winder (20) tries to get past Pepperdine Waves forward Stacy Davis (5) during the second half at Marriott Center. Pepperdine Waves won the game 67-61. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
The Waves held the Cougars well below their average of 88.3 points per game. Tyler Haws had a strong night with a game-high 26 points, but the rest of the team had a below-average night. Anson Winder was the only other Cougar in double figures, and just four players had more than 2 points. Kyle Collinsworth especially struggled. Normally a triple-double threat every night, he had just 4 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
The entire BYU roster struggled shooting, a large reason why their comeback attempt fell short. The Cougars were able to get close including cutting it to a one point Pepperdine lead with 2:02 left, but they could never overtake the Waves. They shot just 23.1% from three point range and 38.1% overall. Struggling in the area that has been their calling card all year, they allowed the Waves to do just enough to win.
Stacy Davis had 23 points and a game-high 8 rebounds for the Waves. Freshman A.J. John had just 2 points, but he was a revelation with 7 rebounds. The play of John and Davis on the glass went a long way against a Cougars team that is weak in the frontcourt and still missing the injured Nate Austin.
Jeremy Major and Jett Raines also reached double figures in points. The Waves didn’t shoot significantly better than the Cougars, but it was enough to keep pace. They were able to play a disciplined game that allowed them to keep pace with the Cougars. Free throws were a big factor down the stretch as the Waves got 20 attempts at the charity strip compared to 8 for the Cougars.
BYU falls to 13-5 overall and 3-2 in WCC play with the loss. The loss snaps a three game winning streak. The Cougars have lost two of their last three at home having previously lost to Gonzaga to open WCC play. The loss to Pepperdine significantly decreases the chances Gonzaga will stumble enough for the Cougars to catch them for the regular season WCC Championship.
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Pepperdine improves to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in WCC play with the win. They have won two in a row since losing to Saint Mary’s on New Year’s Day. A candidate to be a breakout team this season, they have pulled off what will remain one of the biggest upsets of the season in the West Coast Conference. With a win in Provo where most teams will lose, they have a marked advantage over other dark horses looking to move into the top tier of the conference.
The Cougars should recover quickly from the loss as they host last place Loyola Marymount on Saturday. Pepperdine will stay on the road as they visit San Diego on Saturday. The Toreros defeated the Lions on Thursday.