BYU Comes Up Short in Back-and-Forth Battle at Pepperdine
MALIBU, Calif. — Despite leading for most of the game, the BYU men’s basketball team couldn't hang on to the lead in a 76-73 loss in Malibu. Costly turnovers and missed shots by the Cougars, especially in the final minutes, gave Pepperdine the game.
BYU controlled the game in the first half, shooting 48 percent from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Strong first half defense from BYU held the Waves to 36 percent shooting and 12.5 percent from three. BYU ended the game ahead in shooting percentage (44-42 percent) and three point percentage (25-19 percent), but were outscored in the paint, didn’t win the rebounding battle and committed 13 costly turnovers.
Head coach Mark Pope took responsibility for the Cougars’ inability to hang on for the win.
“I’m super disappointed,” he said. “Just a disgusting job coaching. Pepperdine is a really good team. We know that. They’re really talented. They’re extremely well- prepared and well-coached. Lorenzo [Romar] does a great job, and I did a poor job tonight. So that’s the end result.”
Spencer Johnson led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points, one point off his career high. Caleb Lohner had 11 points, all of which came in the first half. Lohner also led the Cougars in rebounds with six.
Alex Barcello and Richard Harward scored in double figures with 12 and 10 points respectively. Matt Haarms, Kolby Lee and Brandon Averette put six, seven and eight points on the scoreboard respectively.
BYU wasted no time getting going in the game. The Cougars began with a successful post move by Haarms and a three pointer by Lee, putting the Cougars up 5-3. A big-time Lohner dunk put BYU in double digits first, leading 11-5.
BYU would keep its lead for the entire first half, entering the locker room up 37-32.
Today’s loss marks the first time this season that BYU has lost after leading at the half. It was Pepperdine’s first victory of the season when trailing at the half.
BYU went up by 11 to start the second half, for the biggest lead of the game. A second-chance layup by Lee and a three by Barcello set the tone. Pepperdine regrouped and countered by hitting three straight shots, putting the Waves within five.
The Waves would go on a 19-6 run at that point, changing the game. Pepperdine took the lead for the first time up 49-48.
The lead went back-and-forth at that point, with both teams evenly matched in the box score. BYU and Pepperdine were both shooting 43 percent at that point.
There were 10 ties and nine lead changes in the second half.
Lots of action down the stretch resulted in the game’s final tie at 71-71. Pepperdine went ahead on free throws. The Cougars had chances to tie the game in the final minute but couldn’t convert.
BYU is scheduled to next play on the road at San Diego, Feb. 2. That game will be broadcast through the Stadium Network and will be available on BYU Radio. The Jan. 30 matchup against San Francisco that BYU was originally scheduled to play next has been postponed due to a pause in the USF program due to COVID-19 precautions.