In its first game back after a win at San Diego, BYU kept the momentum going to beat Pepperdine 84-72 Thursday night in the Marriott Center.
The Cougars got a 12-point lead at the start and held Pepperdine from scoring any points the first three minutes, but their hot streak ended as the game became tighter throughout the rest of the game.
Pepperdine starters Brendan Lane and Malcom Brooks both sat because of injury. Despite the fact that the Waves were shorthanded, BYU coach Dave Rose said it was still a strong win.
“It was quite a battle,” Rose said. “Both teams played basically completely different lineups than we played in the first game. … I’m just really proud of our guys. I think they battled and fought and got a great win.”
Tyler Haws and Skyler Halford led the game for the first four minutes.
Ten minutes in, Stacy Davis led the Waves with five points while Haws paced the Cougars with seven. Pepperdine struggled to keep the ball but picked up its offense in the second part of the first half. BYU’s fouls toward the end of the first half allowed Pepperdine to catch up, trailing by just three points at halftime, 33-30. Even though BYU was ahead, Pepperdine led the Cougars in free throw accuracy, 75 percent to the Cougars’ 63.6.
BYU began the second half just as aggressively as the first. It was back and forth between the two teams; the Cougars kept up the offensive momentum with a dunk by Haws, giving them a seven-point lead over the Waves.
That strength especially showed when, with just four minutes to play, hot-handed Haws scored three three-pointers and then a basket in the paint, giving the Cougars an 11-point lead and the drive they needed to win the game. Junior guard Kyle Collinsworth said it was part of their strategy.
“We always want to give the ball to Ty down the stretch,” he said. “They were tired, and we swung it around, and I hit it him in the corner twice in a row for some threes, and that was huge for us,” Collinsworth said. “We broke free.”
Haws was unaware he scored a season high of 35 points, passing Kresimir Cosic to be 14th in BYU’s all-time scoring history with a total of 1,513 points.
“That’s an honor,” Haws said. “I’ve never met Cosic, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about him, so it’s an honor to be mentioned with his name.”
Haws said he was proud of his teammates for playing aggressively the entire game. Nate Austin had nine rebounds, and Skyler Halford finished with 18 points for the night, including two three-pointers.
Kyle Collinsworth also had a strong night, being just one assist away from a triple-double (15 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists), something BYU hasn’t seen in almost 26 years.
“I would love to get (a triple-double), but all that matters is we won tonight,” Collinsworth said. “I had no idea of my stat line. I was just concerned about the final score of the game.”
Pepperdine couldn’t match BYU’s offense down the stretch as Matt Carlino and Halford made all six of their free throws in the final minute to seal the game.
BYU looks to continue its conference winning streak, as it hosts Loyola Marymount on Jan. 11. The Lions beat the Cougars in Los Angeles in their first meeting. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.