Cougars use second half surge to defeat Pepperdine

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jonathan Hardy)

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PROVO, Utah – BYU outscored Pepperdine 46-16 in the second half to overcome a five-point halftime deficit and earn a 76-51 win at the Marriott Center on Thursday night.

With the win, BYU improves its record to 13-4 overall and 3-0 in the WCC while Pepperdine falls to 9-7 overall and 1-2 in conference play.

“They spread us out and (Jordan) Baker had a great first half, but the second half we were better," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "I thought we were a lot more active defensively. We contested passes. We contested shots and dribbles. After the first few minutes, we were finally able to find a way to score. Big win, and I look forward to our game on Saturday.”

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Tyler Haws led the way for the Cougars with 24 points – his 11th game of the season scoring 20 points or more. Brandon Davies finished with 19 points and nine rebounds while Matt Carlino grabbed 13 points and was 3 for 4 from the three-point line.

BYU shot only 28.1 percent in the first half, but improved to 58.1 percent in the second half to beat the Waves. The Cougars also had 13 steals to Pepperdine’s three and outscored Pepperdine 16-0 in fast break points.

Pepperdine got on the board first at 19:02 with a short jumper, but BYU quickly answered on a Carlino 3-pointer.

At 17:42, Davies lit up the Marriott Center on a fast break dunk and then Zylstra scored after a Davies offensive rebound to bring the score to 8-4.

The Waves went on a 7-0 run five minutes into the half to grab the 13-10 lead. Anson Winder ended the three-minute scoring draught for the Cougars after stealing the ball and finishing an easy layup.

At 10:46, Davies hit one of two free throws to bring the score to its first tie of the half at 13. Offense stayed quiet on both sides of the court until the 8:04 mark when Haws hit two more free throws to give BYU the two-point lead.

Pepperdine quickly answered with a 3-point shot on its next possession and then forced a Cougar turnover to head into the TV timeout up by one. Out of the timeout, the Waves converted on two free throws and another shot from the arc to grab their biggest lead of the night at 21-17.

Haws hit his first field goal of the night at 6:17 to cut the Wave lead to four, but Pepperdine grabbed seven more points to lead 28-19.

Haws picked up some momentum for the Cougars in the next minute and a half and scored seven points, including BYU’s second 3-pointer, to cut Pepperdine’s lead to four.

With a minute left, Pepperdine extended its lead to nine on a short jumper. Davies hit two more free throws on BYU’s next possession and then Zylstra took a charge to give BYU the ball with 8.6 seconds left before the half. With only a second remaining, Davies followed a miss at the rim with his second dunk of the night to cut the Wave lead to 35-30 heading into the half.

Both teams failed to score two minutes into the second half, but at 17:24 Pepperdine scored and BYU answered to make the score to 37-32. Haws was then fouled on a jumper and completed the three-point play to cut the Wave lead to two.  

At 14:10, Carlino sunk his second 3-point shot of the night for a 40-39 BYU lead, its first lead since being ahead 15-13 with eight minutes left in the first half.

The Cougars turned their run into 12-straight points and took a seven-point lead before Pepperdine was able to answer. BYU added another 6-0 run to grab the first double-digit point lead of the night at 52-40.

At the 7:33 mark, Haws hit a jumper from the corner to grab 20 points. BYU maintained its double-digit lead throughout the rest of the second half.

With three minutes remaining, Carlino hit another shot from the top of the arc to give BYU a 21-point lead. A minute later, Agustin Ambrosino sunk another 3-point shot for the Cougars for his first field goal of the night.

BYU continued the run to take the 76-51 victory.

The Cougars will play next on Saturday at Santa Clara at 1:30 p.m. PST. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports and Root Sports and broadcast on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.

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