Cougars come up short against Pepperdine
MALIBU, Calif. — After a back-and-forth battle to begin the game, BYU was unable to overcome a 24-6 Pepperdine run as the Cougars lost to the hot-shooting Waves 92-80 at Firestone Fieldhouse on Thursday night.
Fousseyni Traore finished with a team-high 19 points as the sophomore was 7-of-10 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line while pulling down six rebounds. Gideon George tied a career-high with four offensive rebounds to go along with 13 points and three assists. Dallin Hall and Rudi Williams also reached double figures with 12 and 10 respectively.
BYU set up shop in the paint early as Traore and George exchanged scores in a tightly contested opening 10 minutes that saw four ties and eight lead changes. The Cougars clawed open a game-high 9-point lead at 34-25 following driving lay-ins from Hall and Jaxson Robinson along with a turnaround jumper from George.
The Waves would not go out and responded right away with a 10-0 run to go up 35-34. Robinson and Traore scored in the waning moments of the half to keep the game a 41-40 Pepperdine lead at the break.
Pepperdine returned from the locker room to build on its late first half run. The Waves struck from distance and in the paint for back-to-back 3-point plays to go up 49-40. BYU continued to fight back with George commanding the Cougar offense in the paint and Rudi Williams providing much-needed scores off the bench.
With ten minutes to play, the Cougars were down just a possession after consecutive makes from Williams and Traore. The Waves responded with a 7-2 run to go up 67-60. Traore and Robinson brought BYU back to a 72-71 deficit after Robinson drove and scored off the wing with a resounding one-hand slam dunk.
The Waves had one more response in them and rattled off a game-closing 20-9 run with a flurry of 3-pointers, fast-break lay-ins and timely rebounds.
Pepperdine outrebounded BYU 32-28 while the Cougars held the edge in free-throw shooting (18-of-23) and point in the paint (42-34). The Waves recorded 22 assists on 33 field goals while BYU put up nine assists on 29 field goals. Pepperdine’s Jevon Porter (30 points) and Houston Mallette (22 points) dominated the Waves’ box score.
The Cougars continue their road trip with a visit to No. 16 Gonzaga at the McCarthy Athletic Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. MST. Watch BYU take-on the Zags on ESPN2 or listen live on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143, BYURadio.org/BYU Radio app or KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
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