A commendable effort was put forth by the Waves on Thursday night, as they played their second matchup of the West Coast Conference season against BYU in Provo. Unfortunately, the team was unable to overcome the Cougars with a final score of 84-72.
Just prior to the contest, the team announced that senior forward Brendan Lane and junior guard Malcolm Brooks would not suit up for the game due to injuries, and senior Nikolas Skouen was also out due to illness. Lane and Brooks have been starters for all of the previous 16 games this season, and have been the highest-scoring players for the team in conference play.
The absence of the three players in Thursday's game forced the Waves to rely more heavily on sophomore Stacy Davis, and presented younger players like David Jesperson and Jonathan Allen with more playing opportunities.
The starting lineup for the Waves featured Stacy Davis, Jeremy Major, Malte Kramer, Jett Raines and Lamond Murray Jr. Davis led the team with 17 points, followed by Murray, who made his starting lineup debut with 14 points, and Major with 12 points.
"We felt pressure immediately in the game, beginning with the jump ball," Murray said. "The team knew that we really needed to step up and fill up holes on the court since Brendan Lane was not there to block shots or rebound. Not having Brooks or Brendan on the court made it easier for BYU to score, especially Haws."
Also contributing to the intimidation factor was the large amount of fans - 14,012 - in the Marriott Center.
"The crowd definitely got to us a lot in the beginning of the game, because we aren't really used to having such a large number of opposing fans knowing our names and trying to distract us," Murray said.
According to Major: "Not having Brendan's post presence, and his ability to get rebounds, was definitely a challenge for the team. Malcolm's ability to create his own shots, and be a consistent three-point shooter was also another component of the game that definitely would have allowed us to perform more aggressively. Jeff Van Dyke and David Jesperson had solid games, and having more playing time than usual was an adjustment for them; but ultimately we played hard and fought hard, but the win got away from us."
The Waves will travel to San Diego for the last of a stretch of four straight road games on Saturday (Jan. 11) at 6 p.m. There will be an audio-only WaveCast with Al Epstein at www.pepperdinesports.com. The game will be shown on FOX Sports San Diego and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and for out-of-market viewers on TheW.tv.