The 3-point shooting touch came back with a vengeance and the Cougar defense played with intense pressure as the BYU men’s basketball team steamrolled over Pepperdine University to record an 86-48 blowout win at the Marriott Center on Saturday.
The Cougars made almost as many 3-pointers in the game as they had throughout the past seven outings, and the Cougars’ 38-point win was their largest margin of victory this season.
Senior guard Charles Abouo had a season-high 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting and 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, in addition to recording a double-double with 12 rebounds. The 23 points are two short of his career high, which came last year against Wyoming.
[easyembed field=”Photogallery”]”It felt good tonight to come out and have a good start,” Abouo said. “We came out with a lot of energy and the guys did a great job getting stops and some easy baskets.”
Abouo’s dominance began early, as he recorded 13 points in the game’s first 12 minutes, and had 17 points and nine rebounds at halftime.
“Because Charles wasn’t in foul trouble he was able to play back-to-back minutes and it really helped him get in the flow of the game,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “His time has been broken up over the past three to four weeks and it really helped us that he was able to stay in the game today.”
The Cougars (21-6, 9-3 West Coast Conference) made 12-of-32 3-point attempts in the game for a 37.5 percent shooting performance, returning to their previous season average that had fallen because of the seven-game slump.
“Our guys spent a lot of time on it,” Rose said. “Maybe their legs were a little bit fresh. Whatever the reason, it’s how we play and it’s what we do. These guys are really good at it. It’s just a matter of believing in themselves.”
The BYU defense continued the intensity that has defined the team for the past few games. The Cougars forced 17 turnovers, converting them into 23 points on the other end. The Waves never looked comfortable, as they weren’t able to penetrate the BYU zone the way they did in the first game between the teams in January.
“We changed defense quite a bit from man to zone,” Rose said. “We also ran double teams off their ball screens at times. When [Pepperdine] gets in rhythm, they get really comfortable in what they do, so we tried to keep them off-balance. Coach [Mark] Pope did a great job of controlling these guys the second time through.”
Every Cougar that played in the game scored at least three points for the team. In addition to Abouo, three other players finished in double figures. Junior Brandon Davies had 13 points and seven rebounds and freshman guards Matt Carlino and Anson Winder scored 10 apiece.
“When you get in a good rhythm, that’s when you are able to make those shots,” freshman guard Damarcus Harrison said. “In practice, we’ve been focusing on shooting the ball with confidence and that’s the big thing we did today.”
On the other side of the ball, the Cougar defense held the Waves (8-17, 2-12) without a single player in double figures. Senior forward Taylor Darby and freshman forward Ramon Eaton led the team with eight points each.
“It was tough,” Pepperdine head coach Marty Wilson said. “They shot the ball well and that is something that they haven’t been doing recently. They hit some early and they got momentum. The crowd got into it and it was hard to stop the bleeding after that.”
The Cougars will next play three straight road games over the next two weeks before they return to the Marriott Center to play Portland. The next game is Thursday at the University of San Francisco. The game will tip off at 8 p.m.