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Instant Takeaways From BYU’s 64-59 Loss To LMU

Jan 5, 2023, 11:50 PM

BYU Basketball, Mark Pope...

BYU basketball lost to Pepperdine 92-80 in Malibu. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball falls in their last visit as a WCC member to Gersten Pavilion. Loyola Marymount defeated the Cougars 64-59.

Here are some takeaways from the loss that ends BYU’s seven-game win streak. BYU falls to 12-6 overall on the season, and 2-1 in West Coast Conference play.

After a dozen years in the WCC, BYU only had one season where they opened league play with a 3-0 record. They didn’t hit that mark this season.

Mark Pope has warned everyone of the realities of this team

When BYU racked up a seven-game win streak, you didn’t see Mark Pope suddenly looking at this year’s group as a team that could make a run to the NCAA Tournament. He said they avoided that chase altogether because it’s not something this team is worried about.

He knows this group still has its share of shortcomings. Struggling against a Portland team last week without its top two scorers was a sign of the ups and downs this team will have. Then the downs retook the spotlight versus LMU on Thursday night.

One thing about this BYU team is that their effort will always be there, and they make things interesting. But Mark Pope knew he was reinventing his program by flipping the roster to establish continuity for the Big 12 Conference.

This loss shouldn’t surprise, especially when projections like KenPom had BYU as an underdog. It just shows what Pope has been saying all along, that it’s a group striving to get better every day.

LMU’s defense caused issues for BYU from three-point range

BYU only attempted 13 three-pointers in the five-point loss to LMU. The 59 points scored was a season low. Mark Pope referred to LMU’s “drop” defense in his postgame interview on the BYU Sports Network as an area that gave his team headaches for finding three-point attempts.

It was a brutal night from distance. Noah Waterman hit BYU’s first three at the 16:33 mark of the first half. Then, in the final 36 minutes of action, BYU only hit one more three.

Last week, Mark Pope told his team that he had a dream his group would finish the year shooting 35% from distance. That would mean they close out the regular season shooting 40%, but they didn’t make progress in fulfilling’s Pope dream.

Season-low in minutes played for Rudi Williams

BYU guard Rudi Williams played less than 20 minutes for the first time. Williams finished with two points on 1-of-5 shooting from the field, two rebounds, and one turnover in 13 minutes of action.

The plus/minus for Williams was a team-low minus-16.

Free throw discrepancy 

BYU only attempted nine free throws in a game that saw LMU attempt 23. The Lions knocked down 15 of their 23 attempts, while BYU hit five of its nine shots from the charity stripe.

Late in the second half, with 2:44 remaining, Dallin Hall was called for an offensive foul that appeared to be a blocking foul on Cam Shelton. ESPN analyst Corey Williams even called out the poor call from the officials, saying it should have been a block.

BYU coach Mark Pope was visibly frustrated with the officials. The frustration was visible from BYU as the offense came to a complete halt in the second half scoring only 26 points in the final 20 minutes.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch and his BYU basketball coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Instant Takeaways From BYU’s 64-59 Loss To LMU