Cougars streak past Waves, 84-68

Basketball, it is often said, is a game of runs. <p><p> Seldom has this been more evident than in Pepperdine's game at BYU Thursday night. The teams exchanged scoring runs for 22 minutes before the Cougars decided they were going to make one count. Count it did: when the dust settled, they had turned a one-point deficit into a 22-point lead, holding the Waves to just three points in nine minutes.

The game began slowly, both teams struggling to find an offensive rhythm after the holiday layoff. BYU built a 19-14 edge, only to see the Waves start the exchange of scoring runs with a quick 11-2 spurt to take a four-point lead.

The Cougars responded by closing the half on an 18-5 charge, taking a 37-30 lead to the locker room.

Pepperdine opened with yet another run, scoring the first seven points to draw the game even. A three-pointer by David Patten gave the Waves a short-lived 40-39 lead less than two minutes into the second half.

But on the Waves' ensuing possession, Patten was called for an offensive foul, and was then hit with a technical foul for arguing the call. Oddly, it was BYU whose emotions were fueled by Patten's outburst, and they exploded for 26 of the game's next 29 points. By the nine-minute mark, the Waves found themselves down 65-43 and essentially out of conention.

In a game defined by streaks, the Cougars extended the nation's best home-court winning streak to 42 games with the victory.

Rafael Araujo paced the Cougars with 19 points and 11 rebounds, both game-high totals. Travis Hansen chipped in 17 points, and Jake Shoff established career highs with 15 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Alex Acker continuted his outstanding play for the Waves, scoring 15 points on 4-7 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds. Jimmy Miggins led Pepperdine with 16 points, and Mike Westphal added 11 off the bench.

As expected, the Cougars (10-2) owned the paint, outscoring the Waves 50-12 inside. Missing their two biggest experienced players, the Waves had no answers for Araujo and company. The biggest active Wave -- 6'10, 250-lb freshman Derrick Grubb -- fouled out in just seven minutes. Continuing a season-long trend, Grubb was whistled on essentially every call he was anywhere near.

The year 2003 did not start off as the Waves might have liked, but even with the loss, they head into WCC action next weekend at a respectable 8-5. While that mark is a little below expectations, they have gotten only six combined games played from Devin Montgomery, Will Kimble, and Glen McGowan, all expected to be among the Waves' top six players each night.

Notes:

Though Kimble and McGowan are out for the year, Montgomery should return within a couple of weeks, possibly for the Waves' WCC home opener Jan. 17 against Santa Clara ... Statistically, the game was remarkably even. BYU took 40 rebounds to the Waves' 36; BYU turned the ball over 12 times to the Waves' 13; Pepperdine went to the line 29 times to the Cougars' 26; and Pepperdine took 58 shots to BYU's 59. The difference was WHERE those shots came from; BYU's were inside and Pepperdine's were jumpers. Accordingly, the Cougars made 12 more shots than the Waves.