BYU basketball: Get to know WCC foe Pepperdine

The BYU basketball team is coming off an extremely disappointing loss to San Diego. Now the Cougars are taking on Pepperdine in what should be an easy win.

Okay. Deep breath. BYU basketball lost to San Diego. It was bad and horrible and awful, but at least it’s over now.

Now, the Cougar cagers get the Pepperdine Waves. It should be an easy game, giving the Cougars a chance to rebound.

But BYU basketball can’t afford to overlook another less-than-stellar opponent. Another bad loss will certainly kill the Cougars’ NCAA Tournament hopes.

So let’s get to know the Pepperdine Waves.

Pepperdine is not good

NCAA Basketball: Pepperdine at Southern California

Lamond Murray Jr. shoots against USC. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This seems like a good place to start. The Waves are really bad.

After starting out 4-1, Pepperdine’s lost 12 of its last 13 games. The Waves have lost each of their last three games (San Diego, at Pacific, Santa Clara) and are allowing 79.3 points per game.

Pepperdine is the worst team in the West Coast Conference, sitting at 1-5 on the season. But, the Waves have given BYU basketball trouble in the past. BYU leads the series 10-8, with seven of those wins coming at the Marriott Center – which bodes well for Thursday.

Not many 3-pointers

Another thing that bodes well for BYU basketball is that Pepperdine doesn’t take many 3-point shots. The Waves have taken just 278 of them this season, while their opponents have combined to take nearly 400 of them. The Cougars have taken 368 of them.

BYU basketball is allowing teams to shoot just 31 percent from 3-point range. But, that seems a little misleading considering the number of open or good looks the Cougars give up from downtown. This seemingly won’t be much of an issue on Thursday, which will play to BYU basketball’s strengths.

You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him

This is referring to Waves guard Lamond Murray Jr. – who is putting together one heck of a year.

Some might even say the senior is making a real splash for the Waves this season (I’ll see myself out).

But Murray Jr. is no joke. He’s averaging 20.1 points per game and has failed to score in double digits just twice this season.

Murray Jr. has scored 19 points or more in five of his last six games, including a 32 point outburst in his last contest. His worst shooting performance was a 4-for-13 night against USC. The kid can get buckets.

He’s shooting 49 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range. Plus his 6-foot-5 frame makes him a good rebounder (he’s the team’s second-leading rebounder).

He’ll be a handful, but if the Cougars can keep him somewhat contained, they’ll have no trouble picking up a win.

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