Malibu, Calif. • It still resembles a high school gymnasium as much as anything else, with not much seating at the ends of the court, but Firestone Fieldhouse has been improved.
The BYU Cougars learned that on Monday night as they played at Pepperdine for the third time since joining the West Coast Conference three years ago.
A new video board on the wall to the right of the visitors’ bench is the most striking addition to the 3,104-seat venue.
Pepperdine also plays its volleyball matches in the field house, which was opened in 1973 and was officially dedicated in 1975 by Pres. Gerald R. Ford.
The Cougars don’t play WCC kingpin Gonzaga until Jan. 25, but it is never too early to check up on the Zags, who are expected to win the league again this season.
That road to the title got more difficult for Gonzaga on Monday when coach Mark Few announced that star junior guard Gary Bell has a broken hand.
Bell "will be out for awhile," Few said on his radio show, according to Jim Meehan of The Spokesman-Review.
Bell was averaging 12.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50.9 percent from the field. He suffered the injury in Saturday’s win over Santa Clara in Spokane.
So the Zags will be without their second- and third-leading scorers for the foreseeable future. Forward Sam Dower suffered a lower back injury two weeks ago and hasn’t played since then. Dower was averaging 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
The Zags were 11-2 entering Monday night’s game against San Francisco.
Monday was the 11th straight game that BYU has started Matt Carlino, Kyle Collinsworth, Tyler Haws, Nate Austin and Eric Mika. The Cougars’ record when those five start was 6-6 entering Monday’s game. … Saturday’s 87-76 loss at Loyola Marymount dropped BYU’s record to 1-2 in WCC openers. … Former Utah Jazz forward Jarron Collins provided color commentary on the game’s television broadcast.
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