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BYU (16-6) at Pepperdine (10-10)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 31, 10 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104) -- Malibu, California. Television: Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Home Record: BYU 10-1, Pepperdine 5-4. Away Record: BYU 4-3, Pepperdine 4-6. Neutral Record: BYU 2-2, Pepperdine 1-0. Conference Record: BYU 6-2, Pepperdine 2-5. Series Record: BYU leads, 7-4.

GAME NOTES: The BYU Cougars look to keep their hat in the race for first place in the West Coast Conference standings as they visit Firestone Fieldhouse for a bout against the Pepperdine Waves.

This contest will mark the second time these schools square off this season and the 12th meeting in history. BYU has won all three games since joining the WCC last season and holds a 7-4 all-time series lead. The Cougars trounced Pepperdine, 76-51, on Jan. 10, in the first part of 2012-13's two-game series.

Dave Rose's Cougars are coming off an 85-67 rout at Portland that helped them avoid their first losing slide of the season. The win rose BYU to a 16-6 overall record including a 6-2 mark in WCC action. The team had a trio of notable contributors in the decision over the Pilots. Matt Carlino led the way with 24 points, 6 assists and 4 steals while Brandon Davies had a double- double with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Tyler Haws had 19 points and three steals.

BYU was expected to be the third horse in the running for the WCC Championship with Saint Mary's and Gonzaga, but it played at a level below the long time contenders. The Cougars rank second in the league in scoring offense with an admirable mark of 77.9 ppg, but they are seventh on the other end of the floor with an allowed average of 67.5 ppg. Their inability to slow down the opposition was exhibited versus Portland. The Pilots, who are the lowest scoring team in the WCC (60.8), hit 46.9 percent of their field goal attempts and exceeded their scoring average by several points.

Haws, who leads the conference in scoring with 20.5 ppg, had scored 20-plus points in seven consecutive games before posting just one versus Gonzaga in the game prior to Portland. One more point versus the Pilots would have given the sophomore shooting guard 15, 20-plus point outings on the year. Davies has continued to play well, netting 17.9 points and 7.4 boards per tilt, but Carlino may be emerging as one of the top point guards in the WCC at the perfect time. The 6-foot-2 sophomore has scored in double figures in eight straight games and tallies team-highs of 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals per outing.

The Waves come crashing into this one, as their 84-72 setback at Saint Mary's was their fourth loss in five games. Marty Wilson's squad is now sitting at the .500 mark for the season and owns a 2-5 record in league play. Pepperdine owns the fourth-best scoring defense mark in the WCC with just 65.7 points allowed per contest, but it was completely picked apart on Saturday as the Gaels went 29-of-54 from the floor (53.7 percent). Jordan Baker and Lorne Jackson scored 20 and 16 points, respectively, in the loss.

Jackson is one of few upperclassmen on the young Waves' roster. He has produced a team-best 14.4 ppg, while Baker, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, nets 11.8 points, 4.9 boards, and 3.3 assists per contest. Rookie forward Stacy Davis chimes in with 10.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per tilt to round out the team's double-digit scorers.

BYU actually went into halftime of its first matchup with Pepperdine trailing, 35-30, before a sense of urgency arrived to help the Cougars win the second stanza by 30 points. Although the Waves will have the homecourt edge, BYU showed in the first meeting of the year that it can only beat itself versus Pepperdine.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 76, Pepperdine 64

01/31 10:32:48 ET