BYU basketball: Cougars looking to rebound vs. Pepperdine

Published: Friday, Jan. 20 2012 3:08 p.m. MST

MALIBU, Calif. — In the wake of an embarrassing 82-68 home loss to Loyola Marymount on Thursday night, BYU is looking to bounce back on the road.

The Cougars, who made only 2 of 25 3-point attempts against the Lions, and saw the end of their five-game winning streak, visit Pepperdine Saturday (6 p.m., MST, BYUtv).

A sellout crowd is expected at Firestone Fieldhouse, which has a seating capacity of 3,104.

The Waves are coming off a 61-47 defeat at West Coast Conference leader Saint Mary's on Thursday night.

While the Gaels led by as many as 13 in the first half, Pepperdine trailed by only six points with 7 ½ minutes left in the contest.

Meanwhile, BYU was behind almost the entire game against LMU. Amazingly, the Cougars' last lead was 17-15 at the 8:51 mark of the first half. BYU made several runs at the Lions in the second half, but could not retake the lead.

"It seemed every time we got a little run, they came up with a big shot or a big play," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "They deserved to win. We need to regroup here and get ready for Saturday."

The Cougars' setback overshadowed a scintillating performance by Noah Hartsock, who had a career-high 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field. The senior forward turned in his best game of the year on the heels of his worst — as he hit just 2-of-12 shots from the floor in Monday's win at San Diego.

BYU hit 11-of-24 3-pointers against the Toreros. The Cougars need to regain their shooting touch from outside.

"We've got to see how we're going to come out — if we're going to play like this (against LMU) or improve on it," Hartsock said. "It all starts with practice, as we prepare for Pepperdine. It's a quick turnaround, so we've got to scout them, be really focused, pay careful attention to detail and be fastidious to what we do in every aspect. That could help us, if we have that high energy and that determination, that can help us improve."

Rose is hoping his team can start a new winning streak Saturday and build momentum for the rest of conference play.

"These have been a couple of really good weeks for us, now we have a setback," Rose said. "We'll see how we respond to that. I think that there's a lot of basketball to be played and a lot of really good things can happen for this team. But we're going to have to play better than we did (against Loyola Marymount)."

The Waves have lost six consecutive games, and their only WCC win came at home against San Francisco on Dec. 29.

Though Pepperdine fell at Saint Mary's, coach Marty Wilson liked his team's effort.

"What we talked about before the game was who was going to be the most competitive individual," he said. "Everybody that got on the floor competed, they put their hearts out there, they showed their pride. We talk about individual pride, team pride and program pride, and we had all three of those tonight."

The Waves are shorthanded these days, with just eight scholarship players on the roster. Pepperdine has four injured players while freshman forward Ramon Eaton did not travel to the Saint Mary's game due to a violation of team rules.

Guard Caleb Willis led the Waves with a team-high 14 points against the Gaels. Guard Jordan Baker had 13 points, extending his streak of scoring in double figures in every league game. Center Corbin Moore recorded 15 rebounds.

Today's games

Utah vs. Arizona State, 3 p.m., D4

BYU at Pepperdine, 6 p.m.

Utah State at Idaho, 8 p.m., D4Cougars on the air

BYU (16-5, 5-2)

at Pepperdine (7-11, 1-6)

Tonight, 6 p.m., MST

TV: BYUtv Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FMCougars on the air

BYU (16-5, 5-2)

at Pepperdine (7-11, 1-6)

Tonight, 6 p.m., MT

TV: BYUtv Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

email: jeffc@desnews.com

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