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BYU basketball report card: Pepperdine crashes Cougars' hopes with startling win

By Nate Gagon

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31 2013 4:46 p.m. MST

MALIBU, Calif. — The Pepperdine Waves weren’t good enough to beat the San Jose State Spartans or the Cal State Fullerton Titans earlier this season, or to even compete versus Washington State; but they were plenty good enough to beat the BYU Cougars, 80-74, Monday night.

On Nov. 23, the Waves beat Utah Valley University by five in a close game and a little more than a month later the Waves beat BYU by six in a game they led virtually from start to finish.

Even Utah Ute fans didn’t see this coming for the Cougs.

Utah State Aggie fans must be wondering how they lost to these guys.

In its loss to Pepperdine, BYU’s stat line looked startlingly similar to many of its other boxscores this season: Nate Austin and Eric Mika were in foul trouble (both fouled out); points lost at the foul line (65.5 percent); 3-point threat minimal (1-of-11 shooting); Tyler Haws doing precious little besides shooting (one assist again); Luke Worthington recording no stats except a foul; strange minute distribution (Skyler Halford with 23, Josh Sharp with 16, Matt Carlino with 19, Austin with 18, Anson Winder with just four), etc.

Maybe Utah’s scheduling strategy is the way to go after all. It seems the non-conference schedule took quite a toll on the Cougars.

Here are the grades for each BYU position group and other aspects of the game.

BYU GUARDS

Haws is an excellent free-throw shooter, and now and then he is an incredible shooter from the field. In regards to being a complete player, however, Haws has been a disappointment so far this season.

He is averaging 34.2 minutes per game and only 1.2 assists. For a guy that touches the ball as much as he does his assist number is almost unfathomable. Haws also struggles mightily as a defender.

Carlino, who was largely considered the second-most important player on the team at the start of the season, has fallen off. Carlino played only 19 minutes against Pepperdine, and he made just 1-of-7 shots, had two assists, a rebound, a steal and three turnovers.

Again, Kyle Collinsworth had the best overall stat line for the Cougars with 13 rebounds, seven assists, five steals, two blocks and 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting. His two major weaknesses this season remained constant, however. He made only 3-of-6 free throws and turned the ball over three times.

Earlier this season in consecutive games versus Iowa State, Texas and Wichita State, Halford played merely a combined 12 minutes. Against Pepperdine Monday night he played 23 minutes. While Halford has been fairly effective in his minutes this season his sudden fluctuation in playing time is indicative of BYU’s inconsistency and struggles.

Winder and Frank Bartley IV combined for just 16 minutes and had little impact in the game.

Overall, the Cougars’ guards took 54 of the team’s 67 shots. Of those 54 shots they made only 20, including just 1-of-10 from long distance. Collinsworth’s seven assists were more than the rest of the guards combined.

Grade: D-

BYU BIG MEN

To be a good team, BYU needs a lot more than it is getting from Austin. He has fouled out in three straight games and has been limited by foul trouble in just about every contest. His five fouls against Pepperdine came in just 18 minutes.

In his minutes on the court, Austin has been playing progressively worse as the season has gone along. No doubt foul trouble is in the back of his mind and is affecting his play on the court.

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