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

Mika also fouled out against Pepperdine and is averaging nearly as many fouls per game as Austin (3.3 versus 3.6). In 27 minutes Monday night, Mika had 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. He again cost the Cougars at the foul line, making only 2-of-4.

Like Halford, Sharp has suddenly seen his playing time skyrocket. Sharp didn’t even play against Iowa State, Texas or Utah State, but logged a season-high 16 minutes versus Pepperdine. While there must have been a reason Sharp wasn’t playing much earlier this season, the fact he is now playing significant minutes is a clear sign that things are not going as expected for the Cougs.

Grade: D+

BYU COACHING

Coach Dave Rose is searching desperately for a way to find the heart of his team. It is clear the two players Rose has the most trust in are Haws and Collinsworth, who sat out for only a combined four minutes versus the Waves. It has been that way virtually all season for Haws and Collinsworth, except in blowout wins.

Meanwhile, Rose seems to have lost, or is losing, faith in several other players. He can’t trust Austin and Mika to stay out of foul trouble. He played Halford more minutes Monday than he did Carlino. Bartley’s minutes were cut to 12. Worthington has proven to be a major liability when he gets minutes and continues to slide toward the end of the bench. Winder, for whatever reason, has not had Rose’s trust much of the season and still does not considering he played just four minutes against Pepperdine.

Rose is struggling for answers and his team has clearly lost its confidence.

At this point, Rose needs to be careful not to lose valuable players long-term. The Cougars have no seniors on the team. All these guys should be back next season. Rose needs to start thinking about making sure the struggles and lack of confidence from this season to not get so bad that they carry over to next season as well.

The Cougs need some serious improvement and coaching on defense.

Grade: D-

PEPPERDINE WAVES OVERALL

The Waves knocked down an awesome 13-of-24 shots from the 3-point line versus the Cougars. That was the difference in the game.

Pepperdine’s front court combined for nine blocked shots.

Outside of 3-point shooting and blocking shots, however, the Waves were not particularly impressive. They had 15 turnovers and only 14 assists. They gave up 18 offensive rebounds to BYU. They made only 15-of-23 free throws (65 percent) and 13-of-34 2-point field goals (38 percent).

Guard Malcolm Brooks was the man for the Waves, making 8-of-12 shots, including 6-of-9 from long distance. He had 24 points and did not turn the ball over. Guard Amadi Udenyi was a major difference-maker off the bench as well, hitting 4-of-6 3-pointers and dishing five assists in just 17 minutes.

Perhaps the most discouraging thing for BYU is that Pepperdine did not even have to play a great statistical game to win.

Grade: B+

CROWD

Many people have more Facebook friends than the total announced attendance in this game.

If there’s one positive for BYU losing these West Coast Conference games, maybe it’s the fact that hardly anyone is there to see it. On the other hand, that has to be kind of an insult added to injury in some ways.

Grade: F

Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free throw line and can be reached at: nategagon@hotmail.com or @nategagon.

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