Cougars tidal-waved in 71-65 loss to Pepperdine

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Freshman guard Nick Emery goes up for a layup against Adams State. Emery scored 17 points against Pepperdine. (Natalie Blothwell)

The Pepperdine Waves washed BYU away in a 71-65 loss Saturday night as the Cougars fell to 14-7 overall and 5-3 in West Coast Conference play.

“We just weren’t good enough,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “The one thing about Pepperdine is they don’t lose. You have to beat them.”

The Cougars, who typically shoot 46 percent from the field, were outshot by the Waves 40 percent to just 29 percent in the first half. Pepperdine did not shoot a single free throw in the first half, a tribute to BYU’s defense and hustle. The Cougar defense kept them in the game with four first-half blocks. Both teams had more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds, with 13 offensive rebounds a piece. BYU went into halftime down 30-28 in its second-lowest scoring half.

“You try to get in a rhythm and coming off Loyola, we thought we had it going on offense,” freshman guard Nick Emery said. “Pepperdine really did a great job of finding us in transition and I relate it to the 28 points we scored.”

BYU had opportunities to tie and take control of the game but wasn’t able to do so. The Cougars squandered a potential momentum shift in the second half sparked by a steal and dunk by senior guard Kyle Collinsworth that put BYU up 51-48 with 8:02 left in the game. Pepperdine responded with a 10-1 run to take the lead 58-52.

“We made some great plays and kind of got them on their heels at times, but we weren’t really consistent enough to actually get a lead,” Rose said. “We got it back to where it was even, four minutes or so (left in the game) and they kind of blitzed us.”

BYU later went on a 7-0 run propelled by layups from Collinsworth and freshman guard Zac Seljaas, who cut to the basket and received a pass off a faked 3-point shot attempt. Emery soon stole the ball and then was fouled while scoring a layup. His 3-point play put BYU up 59-58. Senior guard Chase Fischer scored on a jumpshot on the Cougars’ next possession to give them a one-point lead of 61-60 with 3:31 left in the game. It was BYU’s final lead of the game as Pepperdine responded with a jumpshot of its own and maintained the lead for a final score of 71-65.

Collinsworth led the Cougars with 18 points and seven rebounds while Emery score 17 points and made 4-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc. Fischer contributed 15 points and forward Nate Austin added 11 rebounds.

“We’re still learning, we’re still growing as a team,” Emery said. “We’ll learn from it and evaluate from tonight and move on.”

The Cougars return to the Marriott Center after four consecutive road games to host Loyola Marymount University Thursday, January 28. Tip-off is 9 p.m. (MST).

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