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Pepperdine (10-6) at BYU (9-7)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 9 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (20,900) -- Provo, Utah. . Television: BYUtv. Home Record: Pepperdine 5-2, BYU 6-1. Away Record: Pepperdine 4-2, BYU 1-5. Neutral Record: Pepperdine 1-2, BYU 2-1. Conference Record: Pepperdine 3-1, BYU 1-2. Series Record: BYU leads, 8-5.

GAME NOTES: The BYU Cougars will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since late November-early December, as they host the Pepperdine Waves in West Coast Conference action at the Marriott Center.

The Cougars have had a rough start to the league slate, losing the first two outings before taking down San Diego last weekend in an 87-53 blowout at home. The victory served to snap a four-game slide and moved the program to 6-1 in its own building.

Meanwhile, the Waves are the surprise of the WCC with three wins in four opportunities. In fact, the team had put together a four-game win streak before taking on San Francisco last weekend on the road, a meeting which ended in a 76-66 setback to the Dons.

The Cougars lead the all-time series by a count of 8-5, although the first meeting of the season between the squads went to Pepperdine by a score of 80-74 at home on Dec. 30, 2013. Malcolm Brooks led the attack for the Waves with 24 points, one of five players to reach double figures for the hosts, while Tyler Haws accounted for 20 points for the visitors.

Pepperdine had one of its best defensive halves in quite some time last Saturday, as it held the Dons to a mere seven field goals and 19 points through the first 20 minutes of action. Unfortunately, USF made enough adjustments at halftime to produce 57 points in the second half, stealing away a potential win for the Waves. Brendan Lane finished with 13 points, Jeremy Major 12 and Stacy Davis eight points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds.

Lane, a 60.2 percent shooter from the floor, leads the team in scoring (15.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.4 rpg), not to mention blocked shots (40), but for as well as he has played in the paint, his mere 61.7 percent accuracy at the free-throw line is more than enough reason to send him to the bench in close games down the stretch. Davis (14.6 ppg) is also tough to defend in close to the rim, coming up with 8.0 rpg himself, and yet the team is beating opponents on the glass by just 2.4 rpg on average.

Skyler Halford scored a game-high 28 points, leading four starters in double figures, as the BYU Cougars captured a convincing 87-53 win over the San Diego Toreros in West Coast Conference action at the Marriott Center last weekend. Tyler Haws added 17 points for the Cougars, while Eric Mika pitched in with 13 points and Kyle Collinsworth 12 to go along with eight assists and seven boards in the triumph. In what was a total team effort, the Cougars had assists on all but six of their 31 field goals.

Halford (8.3 ppg) has appeared in every game for the Cougars, but it wasn't until now that he's been inserted into the starting lineup, subbing for a slumping Matt Carlino who, while scoring 14.5 ppg to place second on the unit, is shooting only 36.7 percent from the field and 26.8 percent behind the 3- point line. Haws has his average up to 21.6 ppg, adding close to five boards per outing, followed by Mika (13.9 ppg) and Collinsworth (13.0 ppg), the latter of whom leads the group in assists with 87.

It is rare that the Cougars find themselves at a disadvantage in their own building and that shouldn't be the case tonight either, even with Pepperdine playing strong of late.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 82, Pepperdine 73

01/09 10:34:01 ET

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