BYU basketball: Down three key players, Pepperdine still competes
Provo • It was supposed to be a rematch of a game played in Malibu, Calif., 10 days ago, but it didn't work out that way.
Three key players who helped Pepperdine upset BYU back on Dec. 30 were not on the court Thursday night, while the Cougars also sat a starter in the West Coast Conference game at the Marriott Center.
BYU freshman Eric Mika, who suffered a hip contusion and some lower leg injuries in last week's 87-53 win over San Diego, was held out.
BYU coach Dave Rose said on his pregame radio interview that Mika might be ready to play on Saturday against Loyola Marymount, but nothing is certain.
The Waves announced 90 minutes before the game that starters Brendan Lane and Malcolm Brooks and key reserve Nikolas Skouen would not play.
Lane has been experiencing knee pain since Saturday's 76-66 loss at San Francisco. Brooks sprained an ankle in the first half of that game, while Skouen was ill Thursday morning and did not attend the shootaround.
Mika scored 10 points and had seven rebounds before fouling out in BYU's loss at Pepperdine.
Rose started junior Josh Sharp in Mika's absence, Sharp's first start of the season. He started in 22 games last year.
Brooks scored a career-high 24 points against the Cougars on Dec. 30, while Lane chipped in 11 points and six rebounds. Skouen made a big 3-pointer in the first half, one of the Waves' 13 3-pointers in that game.
In WCC play, Brooks and Lane are Pepperdine's two leading scorers, with Lane averaging 17.0 points in league games and Brooks averaging 15.8. Both had started in all 16 of UP's previous games.
BYU jumped to a quick 12-0 lead, and Rose played all nine of his available scholarship players before the second media timeout. The highlight for BYU in the early going was a sequence in which Kyle Collinsworth had three offensive rebounds on one possession before ending it with a putback basket.
Collinsworth is averaging 8.3 rebounds per game and is one of only three players in the country who rank in the top 125 in both assists (5.4) and rebounds.
The Cougars (1-2, 9-7) are in the middle of a three-game homestand. Having ripped through San Diego 87-53 last Saturday, they will play Loyola Marymount at the Marriott Center this Saturday before embarking on a four-game road swing that will take them to San Francisco, Santa Clara, Portland and Gonzaga in that order.