One week after losing to Pepperdine and falling into fourth place in the WCC the Cougars avenged that loss by defeating the Waves and taking third place right back.
Unlike last week in Malibu the Cougars were able to dictate the tempo of this one. A 53 point first half on 62.5% shooting was just too much for the Waves even though they too shot well (58.1%). A less wide open second half favored the Waves, but in front of a sellout crowd of 18,987, they were too rattled to take advantage. Ten second half turnovers by the Waves turned into 12 points for the Cougars.
Kyle Collinsworth (24 points, 10 assists) didn't get another triple-double, but he did grab ahold of another record. His four rebounds tonight were just enough to give him 923 career rebounds. Already BYU's leading assist man, the 6-foot-6 point guard now holds the Cougars' all-time rebounding mark.
This Pepperdine team, looking for a second straight season sweep of the Cougars, came out firing and scored on six of their first seven possessions. BYU went into a 1-3-1 zone to counter that, and would play zone regularly for the rest of the game. It worked.
While the Waves were red hot, so were the Cougars. BYU made seven of 11 threes in the first half including three straight from little-used freshman forward Jakob Hartsock.
After the break the Waves climbed right back into it with another hot start, but turnovers doomed them. A quick 6-0 run over the first two minutes made it a one possession game. But that was followed by a spree of four turnovers in just over two minutes that iced the team's momentum.
Freshman Nick Emery (17 points) racked up five steals in the game.
The Waves fell into foul trouble. Kameron Edwards (16 points) fouled out. Stacy Davis (8 points) and Jake Johnson (1 point) both picked up four fouls while Jett Raines (17 points) and Lamond Murray Jr. (16 points) had three a piece.
BYU missed 10 free throws, but made 20 at the charity stripe.
For the Waves, their time in third place was shortlived. Now at 14-8, and 7-4 in WCC play, they fall a half game below BYU and into fourth place. BYU moves up to third with a record of 16-7 (7-3). BYU still has to host both Saint Mary's and Gonzaga this season. Pepperdine gets Gonzaga at home, where the Waves are perfect this year, and a trip to Saint Mary's.
Third place, fourth place, there's still a lot of basketball to be played and a lot of shots left to be taken at the WCC's top teams.