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BYU basketball: Cougars to get another shot at Pepperdine, LMU this week

Published: Sunday, Jan. 5 2014 3:20 p.m. MST

Brigham Young Cougars guard Tyler Haws (3) drives on San Diego Toreros guard Chris Sarbaugh (5) during a game between BYU and San Diego in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars guard Tyler Haws (3) drives on San Diego Toreros guard Chris Sarbaugh (5) during a game between BYU and San Diego in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO — Thanks to a scheduling quirk, BYU has an opportunity to avenge the two West Coast Conference losses it suffered a week or so ago.

The Cougars, who are coming off a dominant 87-53 victory over San Diego Saturday night, host Pepperdine Thursday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv) and Loyola Marymount Saturday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv).

BYU fell on the road to the Waves last Monday, 80-74, and to the Lions two days earlier, 87-76.

“It’s really interesting,” said BYU coach Dave Rose of the odd schedule. “We’ll adjust our game plan, obviously, because we lost both games. These guys will know their personnel.”

Pepperdine (10-6, 3-1) won at Santa Clara last Thursday, but lost at San Francisco Saturday. Loyola Marymount (10-6, 2-2) dropped both road games last week against San Francisco and Santa Clara.

Brigham Young Cougars center Eric Mika yells after a slam dunk during a game between BYU and San Diego in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars center Eric Mika yells after a slam dunk during a game between BYU and San Diego in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

“They both played two games since, so we’ll evaluate that film,” Rose said. “We know at the end, everybody will play everybody. But it’s a little bit different.”

In both games against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount, the Cougars got behind early and could never recover.

That wasn’t the case last Saturday at the Marriott Center.

BYU (9-7, 1-2) took control of the game against San Diego midway through the first half, turning a 17-15 deficit into a 41-23 halftime lead. During the final 11:30 of the first half, the Cougars outscored the Toreros, 26-6.

Leading the way was guard Skyler Halford, who drilled three 3-pointers during that stretch.

Halford, making his first career start, finished with a career-high 28 points.

Brigham Young Cougars center Eric Mika drives on San Diego Toreros forward/center Jito Kok (33) during a game between BYU and San Diego in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars center Eric Mika drives on San Diego Toreros forward/center Jito Kok (33) during a game between BYU and San Diego in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

“It was fun,” Halford said. “I just tried to do my best when I was in there and help us win. It was a big win for us as a team.”

Matt Carlino came off the bench and scored six points and had four assists in 21 minutes of play.

While the Cougars were thrilled to snap their four-game losing streak with the win over San Diego, they are concerned about the health of freshman forward Eric Mika.

He left the game twice due to apparent hip and leg injuries.

“Right now I can’t tell you if it’s good or bad. We’ll just have to see,” Rose said after the win.

In the first half, Mika jumped high to try to block a shot in the corner by San Diego guard Johnny Dee, and fell hard to the court. He returned later in the half. In the second half, on a fast break, before attempting a dunk, he injured himself. Mika limped to the locker room and returned to watch the rest of the game from the bench.

Brigham Young Cougars guard Anson Winder (20) hits the floor after a shot during a game between BYU and San Diego in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars guard Anson Winder (20) hits the floor after a shot during a game between BYU and San Diego in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

More is expected to be known about Mika’s status before Thursday’s game.

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