MALIBU, Calif. — BYU was looking for a little payback for its six-point loss to Pepperdine in Provo a month ago.
Instead, the Cougars suffered another bitter setback at the hands of the Waves, 80-74, Thursday at Firestone Fieldhouse.
This time, BYU led by as many as 16 late in the first half. But the Cougars squandered that advantage as Pepperdine star Stacy Davis exploded for 17 points in the second half and finished with 22, including 12 at the free-throw line. Lamond Murray Jr. had 18 and Jett Raines added 14.
BYU played one of its best halves of the season in the first half, then the Cougars collapsed over the final 20 minutes. As a team, the Waves shot 64 percent in the second half, compared to 37 percent for BYU.
“The first 5-8 minutes of the second half was really kind of the difference," said coach Dave Rose. "They kind of penetrated our zone and got clean looks at the basket. Their interior passing was really good in the second half. In the first half, we were able to get our hands on balls and knocked them away. They were a lot quicker especially to start the second half. They probably scored eight or nine times in their first 10 possessions and that got them in a rhythm. The confidence and momentum they got in the first six or seven minutes of the second half was the difference.”
With the win, Pepperdine (15-8, 8-4) claimed sole possession of third place in the West Coast Conference standings. The Cougars dropped to 17-8 and 7-5.
Tyler Haws scored 22 for BYU and Anson Winder chipped in 20. Kyle Collinsworth recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“They just made a run on us and we couldn’t get it back," Haws said. "They beat us on the boards and got to the free throw line. We just didn’t have an answer for it. We tried to adjust and tried to put up some resistance, but we didn’t. We’ve got to address those things and get better at it.”
BYU was up by 15 points early in the second half, but Pepperdine whittled away at that deficit as Davis, Murray and Raines scored a flurry of points behind red-hot shooting. The Waves were also going to the free-throw line in waves.
Pepperdine suddenly trailed by just four, 48-44.
“That second half, we came out really flat. We were playing hard and getting what we wanted in the first half," Winder said. "We had them out of sync and out of rhythm. That second half, we started way too flat. The scored 10 points in a row without any misses. That’s something that we have to do a better job of. We let them back in the game. They came out with a little more enthusiasm, a little more fight. And we knew they would. They’re not a team that’s going to fold easily. We knew they would come out hard and aggressive and that’s what they did.”
Rose was whistled for a technical foul with 12:39 remaining when his team had the ball. At that point, BYU had eight team fouls, compared to one for the Waves. Rose was upset about the foul descrepancy and let the officals know it.
With 10:15 left, another Davis basket brought Pepperdine to within three points, 57-54.
The Waves cut it to 61-60 on a layup by Raines, then a layup by Amadi Udenyi gave Pepperdine its first lead since midway through the first half.
Davis picked up his fourth foul with seven minutes left and went to the bench. But the Waves were relentless. A 3-pointer by Udenyi gave Pepperdine a 68-64 lead, and Pepperdine went up by nine, right after Davis checked back in, with two minutes remaining.
In the first half, the Cougars controlled the pace, controlled the boards, and controlled the game.
BYU and Pepperdine traded baskets over the first eight minutes of the game, and the Waves were clinging to a 14-13 advantage before the Cougars put together a 14-0 run.
A Haws putback put BYU ahead, 27-14, before Pepperdine ended a seven-minute scoring drought on a 3-pointer by Jeremy Major.
The Cougars led by as many as 16 with 30 seconds remaining in the first half, 38-22. But Waves’ guard Shawn Olden buried a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to make it 38-25 at the break.
BYU outshot Pepperdine in the first half, 56 percent to 35 percent, and outrebounded the Waves, 20-10. At the half, the Cougars outscored Pepperdine in the paint, 22-8, and had 11 second-chance points, compared to one for the Waves. Winder led all scorers with 12 at intermission.
Early in the second half, Haws scored a basket that gave him 2,501 career points, joining Jimmer Fredette as the only Cougars to reach the 2,500-point plateau.
Chase Fischer did not play Thursday after getting hit in the head with a basketball earlier in the day.
BYU visits Loyola Marymount Saturday (2 p.m. MST, Root).